The Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project is instituting measures for the formation of a task force to combat illegal gold mining (galamsey) in the Ashanti Region.
The task force, to be known as Asanteman Task Force Against Illegal Mining, will be a corporate social responsibility initiative of the Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin.
It is part of efforts by the Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project to pursue responsible gold mining in the Ashanti Region.
The task force, which will undertake mainly intelligence activities, will add up to the efforts of the Asantehene to restore sanity to the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector in the Ashanti Region.
E ON 3 Group, the company that was given authorisation by the Bank of Ghana to mint the Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin, explained that the coming of the task force is a testament to the untiring efforts of His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to root out illegal gold mining from his mineral-rich Kingdom.
“The task force will play a major role in anti-illegal gold mining activities. His Majesty has warned chiefs under his authority that any of them whose lands and rivers have been destroyed by illegal miners will be summoned for questioning and anyone who fails to provide a reasonable explanation will be sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to others. The time is up to support the Asantehene on this move, and the Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin will do exactly that,” a source at E ON 3 Group said.
The Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project is aware and appreciates the fact that His Majesty is not against gold mining , but what he abhors is the irresponsible manner some people undertake their activities, which impacts the environment negatively.
Otumfuo has been at the forefront of the fight against illegal gold mining, and he has declared 2023 an action year as he moves to protect lands and water bodies in his Kingdom from the activities of illegal miners.
The E ON 3 Group source said, to support the Asantehene achieve his anti-galamsey objectives, the task force will investigate galamsey activities, and submit a report to him.
The source added: ” The investigations will be wide, covering even chiefs suspected to be engaged in the illegal activities, and we appeal to Otumfuo to destool any chief found culpable.”
The Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project will also organise education programmes for chiefs, on how to fight illegal gold mining in their communities.
Explaining the importance of the training, the source said the chiefs manage the lands on behalf of the Asantehene, and therefore they need the required training on how to perform their duties effectively in order to ward off galamsey activities.
“Through the training, the chiefs will know what is expected of them,” the source indicated.
Chiefs in the Ashanti Region are to ensure that people who come to their areas with prospecting and other licenses do not use those licenses to undertake illegal gold mining.
“So if for instance, the Minerals Commission gives license to someone to mine in a community, the chief in that community is expected to monitor the license holder to ensure that he does the right thing rather than going behind to do galamsey,” the source added.
The source warned that chiefs who fail in that regard will be reported to Otumfuo.
A legal team will be constituted by the Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project to help in the prosecution of persons caught in illegal gold mining, and also perform other legal issues relating to combating galamsey in the Ashanti Region.
The legal team will be made up of crack lawyers who are ready to do the job required of them.
Furthermore, the Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project is taking steps to formally appeal to the Chief Justice and the Attorney General to ensure the expeditious trial of cases relating to illegal gold mining in the Ashanti Region.
The Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project appealed to His Majesty to talk to the international community to blacklist financiers of illegal gold mining in his Kingdom adding that it would not be out of place if such persons are denied visas by the Embassies.
“We know those who are engaged in galamsey, and once they are arrested and the evidence of their involvement is clear, their names will be sent to the Embassies for them to be blacklisted.
“The talking has gone on for far too long, and the time for action to restore normalcy is now,” the source said.
The Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project believes that over-focusing on the arrest of labourers at illegal gold mining sites while leaving financiers off the hook is not the way to go in the fight against galamsey.
While such labourers should not be allowed to go free, emphasis must be on the real culprits who finance the galamsey activities. These are the people who buy the excavators.
“So when the labourers are arrested, there should be a follow-up with the arrest of the financiers,” the source appealed.