South-South Irregular Migration: The Impacts of China’s Informal Gold Rush in Ghana

Gabriel Botchwey, Gordon Crawford, Nicholas Loubere, Jixia Lu

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    This article examines irregular South-South migration from China to Ghana, and the role it played in transforming livelihoods and broader developmental landscapes. It looks at the entry of approximately 50,000 Chinese migrants into the informal small-scale gold mining sector from 2008-2013. These migrants mainly hailed from Shanglin County in Guangxi Province. In Ghana, they formed mutually beneficial relationships with local miners, both legal and illegal, introducing machinery that substantially increased gold production. However, the legal status of Chinese miners was particularly problematic as, by law, smallscale mining is restricted to Ghanaian citizens. In mid-2013, President Mahama established a military task force against illegal mining, resulting in the deportation of many Chinese miners. The article examines the experiences of both Chinese migrants and Ghanaian miners. Findings are that irregular migration into an informal sector had long-lasting impacts and played a significant role in the transformation of economic, political, and physical
    landscapes in Ghana.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)310-328
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Migration
    Issue number4
    Early online date11 Oct 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

    Bibliographical note

    This is the peer reviewed version of the following articleBotchwey, G, Crawford, G, Loubere, N & Lu, J 2018, 'South-South Irregular Migration: The Impacts of China’s Informal Gold Rush in Ghana' International Migration, vol. (In-Press), pp. (In-Press),which has been published in final form at
    This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


    • irregular migration
    • Artisanal and small-scale mining
    • China
    • Ghana
    • gold rush
    • South-South migration


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