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Ghana detains 124 Chinese over illegal gold mining

The Chinese embassy said on its website on Thursday that authorities in the resource-rich West African nation searched a hotel in the country's central region and captured a number of Chinese citizens on Sunday.

The embassy said it is negotiating with Ghana's government and has expressed concern over raids of areas near mines where Chinese people have been living.

The embassy said Ghana has said it would temporarily suspend its crackdown on illegal mining and allow Chinese workers to return home if they wish. It says Chinese citizens should abide by the law in foreign countries.

China is eager to be seen as capable of maintaining the security and rights of its citizens abroad.

Illegal minining has become a problem in Africa's second largest gold producer.

Foreigners are banned from working in Ghana's small-scale mining industry, which was formalised in the late 1980s to indigenise mining and bring much-needed income to the country's poor rural communities.

Figures on the scale of illegal mining are nonexistent and Ghana's authorities are struggling to address the problem. But 23% of the country's gold production is from small-scale mining and some estimates calculate that 95% of all small-scale mining in Ghana is illegal. – Additional reporting by Sapa-AP and the Guardian

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