Otumfuo Osei Tutu II
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

Commemorative Gold Coin Project: Otumfuo rolls out responsible gold mining in Ashanti Region

The Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin is rolling out an initiative to ensure that gold sourced from all areas under his authority is responsibly mined and traded.

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This aligns with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project.

Officials of E ON 3 Group, the company that was given authorisation by the Bank of Ghana to mint the commemorative gold coin, said Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is not against gold mining but against illegal mining which continued to destroy the environment. 

“Illegal gold mining (galamsey) continues to wreak havoc in the Ashanti Region, with water bodies and arable lands suffering unimaginable consequences.  

“The Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin is rolling out an initiative to ensure sanity in the system by pursuing activities relating to responsible gold mining in Asanteman, in response to our Corporate Social Responsibility. Working with the Manhyia Palace, the move is key in assuring gold consumers and investors that the product they trade in has been responsibly produced and sourced,” a statement from E ON 3 Group said.

Partners 

Access Bank is the official banking partner for the gold coin while GLICO and Coronation Insurance Company Limited are the official insurance companies.

Partners in the responsible gold mining initiative are, E ON 3 Group, Manhyia Palace, Ansong Askew, African Responsible Mining Company, Access Bank, KGL Group, Precious Minerals Marketing Company (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.
 
Broader consultation 

Consistently, the King had maintained a strong position against illegal gold mining and is taking this a notch higher by marshalling all forces to battle illegal gold mining activities in his domain.

The company said the Asantehene believes the talking had gone on for far too long and the time to act to salvage the situation is now.

According to E ON 3, the Asantehene will soon launch a major responsible gold mining campaign because he is worried about the destruction caused to the environment and water bodies.

“Many international organisations and the diplomatic community are coming on board to support the Asantehene in his quest to bring sanity into the gold mining sector in his Kingdom. The World Gold Council and OECD are among them.

“His Majesty has demonstrated immense commitment to the eradication of illegal gold mining and promoting responsible gold mining, and he will be working with stakeholders to ensure that interventions to halt environmental degradation and protect water bodies in his Kingdom are coordinated and fully supported,” the company said.

This year has been declared action year by the King, in his quest to protect lands and water bodies in Asanteman from the activities of illegal gold miners.

The company said Otumfuo Osei Tutu, 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 do 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. He accused some of them for 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. 

The E ON 3 Group said Otumfuo Osei Tutu believes that galamsey has become a threat to the cocoa industry, and therefore the threat must be curtailed to prevent the country from risking a ban on its cocoa on the international market.

Zero Mercury

Outlining further details of the Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin initiative, the company said the application of mercury in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector is having devastating impacts on the ecosystem. 

Contamination of rivers and other water bodies with mercury and other dangerous chemicals had exposed many mining communities to serious environmental and health risks.

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The company said the application of dangerous substances such as mercury and cyanide by artisanal small-scale gold miners had resulted in the degradation of land and pollution of water bodies in mining communities in the Ashanti Region.

“Ghana has been pursuing an intervention to promote mercury-free gold mining technologies. The government, through the Minerals Commission, has, procured mercury-free gold extraction machines for small-scale miners to help safeguard the environment. However, the challenges in the system had not been fully addressed, and the Asantehene is taking it up as a major project to promote the application of zero mercury in the gold mining sector.  

“The Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin will undertake intensive education, and collaborate with industry players on the better application of technology to help achieve a mercury-free gold mining sector,” the company stated.


Training

Another activity key to achieving the quest for responsible gold mining in the Ashanti Region is training of small-scale miners. “Our well-thought-out innovative training programmes are tailored, among other things, for the acquisition and development of key professional skills to add to qualifications and technical skills of personnel in the artisanal and small-scale sector.”

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“Chiefs will also receive training on how to protect their traditional areas from illegal gold mining. There will also be the training of river guards to police the rivers in the Ashanti Region from the activities of illegal miners.

“We are also going to engage the media and religious groups on how to deal with illegal gold mining. We will visit churches and mosques, as well as collaborate with media organisations on how to deal strongly with illegal gold mining,” the company said.

Land Reclamation

Another major activity to be undertaken is the reclamation of mined-out lands. The company maintained that the Asantehene  takes great interest in ensuring that mined lands are returned to beneficial end-use.

Consequently, detailed plans on how mined-out lands will be restored were being put in place for implementation.

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Responsible Gold Mining

“The Commemorative Gold Coin is pure gold, so it goes with purity in sourcing. Galamsey is a threat to the Commemorative Gold Coin and we will not sit down for the illegal activity to continue,” the company stated.

It added: “Over the years, Otumfuo Osei Tutu has demonstrated leadership in the fight against illegal gold mining and all must support him to do even more for Asanteman. The Asantehene has said that arresting ‘the small fishes’ and leaving out the financiers in the illegal gold mining fight is not the way to go.

“What we are going to do is that once a small worker is arrested, we will look for the financiers and ensure that they are arrested and dealt with by the law. We are engaging lawyers to help us in this respect. Once Otumfuo has spoken, all of us must give him the necessary backing to succeed.”

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