Unequal Extractions: Reconceptualizing the Chinese Miner in Ghana

Nicholas Loubere, Jixia Lu, Gordon Crawford, Gabriel Botchwey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Over the past decade, Chinese migration to Africa has increased rapidly alongside the expansion of Chinese economic engagement with the continent. The entrance of new forms of Chinese industry, aid, commerce and resource exploration has been transformative, prompting debates over whether China in Africa is better described as neo-colonialism or a new form of beneficial developmentalism. One of the most dramatic examples of Chinese migration to—and economic engagement with—an African country is the recent gold rush in Ghana, which started in the mid-2000s with the rapid influx of tens of thousands of Chinese small-scale gold miners from a single poor rural county in China, and continues to this day, albeit on a smaller scale. This paper presents a critical examination of how the Chinese miners have been depicted in public, media and academic discourses as a homogenous group, both benefiting from Ghanaian gold extraction and impacting their surroundings in generally uniform ways. Drawing on in-depth fieldwork in both Ghana and China, we argue that this portrayal neglects to highlight the differentiated experiences of the miners and the segmentation that exists within the miner group, which consists of both winners and losers
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2-29
    Number of pages28
    JournalLabour, Capital and Society
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2020


    • Ghana, China, migration, small-scale mining, extractivism, unequal distribution

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences(all)


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