The Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project says illegal mining ( galamsey) is a threat to the Gold Coin.
Consequently, the Project is embarking on a responsible gold mining initiative as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility to protect the purity of the Gold Coin, and also ensure sanity in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector in the Ashanti Region.
The E On 3 Group, the company that was given authorisation by the Bank of Ghana to mint the coin, on Monday, March 20, 2023, started an intensive media campaign on responsible gold mining in the Ashanti Region, which took them to three media stations in Kumasi namely Sompa FM/TV, Opemsuo Radio and Pure FM.
The officials took time to explain what the Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin stood for and the dangers posed to its noble objectives by galamsey, which is endemic in the Ashanti Region.
E ON 3 Group believes that there has been too much talk on stopping galamsey without the corresponding action, and therefore, the time to act is now to save the lands and water bodies from further destruction.
The company said since the Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin is 24 carats ( 99.9 per cent) pure gold, it is important that it moves with purity in gold sourcing.
The Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin was launched on December 12, 2021, to recognise His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene for his tremendous role in bringing an end to the protracted Dagbon conflict, as well as other peace-building and national development initiatives.
Access Bank is the official banking partner for the gold coin, while GLICO and Coronation Insurance Company Limited are the official insurance companies. Other partners are Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), KLG Group/KGL Foundation and Gold Coast Refinery.
For the responsible gold mining initiative, the partners are, E ON 3 Group, Manhyia Palace, Ansong Askew, African Responsible Mining Company, Access Bank, KGL Group/KGL Foundation, PMMC, Gold Coast Refinery, GLICO, and Coronation Insurance Company Limited, supported by World Gold Council, Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and PX Precinox.
Pursuing zero mercury
A leading official of E ON 3 Group said during the media interviews that the application of dangerous chemicals like mercury and cyanide in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector is having negative impacts on the ecosystem.
“There has been contamination of rivers in the Ashanti Region including River Offin with mercury and other dangerous chemicals, which has exposed many mining communities to serious environmental and health risks. Therefore, we are going all out to promote zero mercury in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector in,” the official said.
Land Reclamation/Protecting rivers
The company also touched on the reclamation of mined-out lands, which it intends to undertake as part of the responsible gold mining initiative.
The company maintained that the Asantehene takes great interest in ensuring that mined-out lands are returned to beneficial end-use, and therefore everything will be done to reclaim mined-out lands in the Ashanti Region.
Education & training
Officials of the company also noted that the Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project will embark on sustained education and training programmes on illegal gold mining for chiefs in the Ashanti Region.
The education and training programmes seek to build the capacities of the traditional rulers to better appreciate the enormity of the galamsey challenge and prepare them properly to adopt local efforts to counter the activities of illegal gold miners.
Besides these, there will be media engagements as part of efforts to deal with the illegal gold mining menace.
The media play a fundamental role in creating a healthy environment by spreading awareness and creating avenues for engagement.
Consequently, the media will be empowered to set the agenda for the anti-galamsey fight and responsible gold mining drive in the Ashanti Region.
There will also be visits to the churches and mosques to engage their leaders and congregants on how to use their platforms to combat illegal gold mining.
Already, the Asantehene has declared 2023 as Action Year to protect lands and water bodies in his Kingdom from the activities of illegal gold miners.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the company said, had charged chiefs under his authority to do their utmost best to protect their lands and rivers for the benefit of current and future generations. In doing that, he charged the chiefs to scrutinise all mining documentation and also monitor the activities of small-scale gold mining companies to ensure that their operations did not have negative impacts on lands and water bodies.
At a Regional Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining in Kumasi in May 2021, Otumfuo Osei Tutu warned chiefs under his authority that any of them whose lands and rivers had been destroyed by illegal gold miners would be summoned for questioning and anyone who failed to provide a reasonable explanation will be sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to others.
Also addressing the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs in Kumasi on October 14, 2022, Otumfuo called out his chiefs for not taking up the fight against illegal gold mining. Instead, he accused some of them of accepting monies from illegal gold miners thereby, making it difficult for their part to make any meaningful contribution to the fight against illegal mining.
Again, in October 2022, when the US Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, called on the Asantehene at the Manhyia Palace, he touched on President Akufo-Addo’s promise of putting his presidency on the line during the height of the war against the illegal gold mining menace and wondered why the President had even put his presidency on the line, and yet illegal mining was still going on.
Generally, officials of the company recognised the great efforts Otumfuo is making to bring sanity into the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector in the Ashanti Region.
They indicated their readiness to do everything within their means to support Otumfuo in his sustained crusade against illegal gold mining.
Responsible Gold Mining Summit
Meanwhile, a Responsible Gold Mining Summit will soon be launched in Kumasi to ensure that gold sourced from the small-scale mining sector is responsibly mined and traded in accordance with international standards.
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