Ghana court jails Chinese national over illegal gold mining
Aisha Huang’s trial sheds light on Chinese involvement in widespread illegal mining in the country
Accra — A Ghanaian court has sentenced a Chinese national to prison for illegal gold mining in the West African nation, her lawyer said on Monday, ending a case that started in 2017 and shed light on Chinese involvement in the activity.
The court in the capital Accra sentenced Aisha Huang to four-and-a-half years imprisonment and a fine of 48,000 Ghanaian cedis ($4,000) for running an illegal mining operation, Huang’s lawyer Hope Agboado said.
Huang, who could not be reached for comment, initially pleaded not guilty but changed her plea to guilty as the trial progressed.
Agboado said he had asked the court to impose a fine and deport her instead of imposing jail time. He and Huang are still deciding whether to appeal, he said.
Ghana, a gold, oil and cocoa producer, is facing a scourge of illegal mining with Chinese nationals accused of leading some of the operations that have destroyed large areas of forest, polluted water bodies and sometimes encroached on the concessions of large-scale miners.
Ghana’s cocoa regulator Cocobod said in September that about 150,000 tonnes of cocoa were lost due to smuggling and illegal gold mining, locally known as galamsey, on farmlands in the 2022/23 season.
Huang was known as the “Galamsey queen” in the Ghanaian press.
Several Chinese nationals were brought to court for similar cases in Ghana in 2021 and 2022.
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