GHANA President Nana Akufo-Addo said China may be engaging in unauthorised mining of gold and other mineral resources in the country.
The government of Ghana will conduct a systematic and detailed investigation into the matter, Akufo-Addo said during an interview with Nikkei in Tokyo.
Chinese state companies are active in Ghana, developing roads, railways and the power sector.
‘Ghana and China have a strong relationship,’ Akufo-Addo said. ‘However, we have a big problem in Chinese involvement in illegal mining activity in Ghana … [and] we have decided to do something about it.’
In June 2013, 124 Chinese nationals were detained in Ghana for illegally mining gold. Unlawful mining of mineral resources continues and is gravely affecting Ghana’s economy, the president said.
Noting that Chinese residing in Ghana are possibly exporting illegally mined gold to the United Arab Emirates, Akufo-Addo said there was a disparity of $5bn between official trade statistics and actual gold exports in 2017.
Ghana has close ties with China, a major source of loans and other funding. According to the SAIS China-Africa Research Institute of Johns Hopkins University, Chinese banks extended the African country a total of $3.17bn in loans between 2000 and 2015, making Ghana the seventh largest African recipient of Chinese lending.
Chinese companies are also involved in oil exploration, electric power generation and many other development projects in Ghana.
Akufo-Addo said Ghana has strong ties with China, but his words reflect growing concern about the relationship.