Monday, 16 January 2017

Ghanaian Environmental Activists Fighting Illegal Gold Mining Must Demand That Western Refineries Only Purchase Responsibly Produced Gold From Ghana

It is vital that as a people we do not allow the callousness and greed of our vampire-elites to compromise the future  of Ghana's younger generations - and that of their children and their children's  children.

At all costs we must protect Mother Nature in our homeland Ghana - for it is the natural environment that underpins the quality of life for people in all societies.

Ending illegal gold mining, illegal logging and illegal sand-winning so as to protect ecosystems countrywide should be a matter of concern to all responsible Ghanaians who value what is left of our nation's natural heritage.

That is why one welcomes news reports to the effect that the same societal concerns, which drive the ethical consumption movement in the wealthy nations of the West, are now impacting gold refineries there too: some of which are rejecting gold produced in Ghana for ethical reasons.

What that means in our context, in effect, is that  gold producers in Ghana will need certification from regulators to prove that their operations are socially and environmentally responsible.

That indeed is very good news for environmental activists fighting illegal gold mining and illegal logging across Ghana.

It is gratifying that Dr. Tony Aubyn the head of the Minerals Commission clearly understands the threat it poses to Ghana's destructive gold mining industry - which operates with complete impunity in Ghana: because of the enormous economic power it wields and the perfidy of our political class that is beholden to it.

However, the balance of power will now gradually shift  to civil society groups that fight for social justice in Ghana - because environmental activists in Ghana can liaise directly with ethical consumer groups in the West and let them become aware of the egregious crimes against humanity being perpetrated across Ghana, by the gold mining industry (legal and illegal).

And, best of all, for once there will be balance-sheet-consequences for all gold mining companies that behave irresponsibly in Ghana. Fantastic.

Demand for ethically produced jewelry and timber products in the West eventually led to the  boycott of blood diamonds, illegally felled lumber and timber products from parts of DR Congo, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The purchasing power of ethical consumers  in the markets of the West can do same here - and succeed where do-nothing politicians and hidebound public officials have failed Ghanaians so woefully: in halting the destruction of ecosystems resulting from the degradation of forests, the poisoning of water bodies and soils across our country by Ghana's perfidious gold mining industry.

To secure the same outcome here, as was achieved in Liberia, Sierra Leone and parts of DR Congo, Ghanaian environmental activists fighting the menace of illegal gold mining must now shift their focus from engaging with hard-of-hearing officialdom here, and rather ratchet up ongoing collaboration with their counterparts in the West.

They must  name and shame all the players in Ghana's gold mining sector  (legal and illegal) that are socially and environmentally irresponsible in their operations - and pass on all the on-site hard evidence in their possession to back their claims in the West's mainstream media and on social media platforms.

When significant quantities of gold from Ghana start being rejected by refineries in the West, it will force the authorities here to clamp down harder on the industry players responsible for the destruction of ecosystems - resulting from illegal logging and the unacceptable poisoning of river systems, ground-water tables and soils across vast tracts of the countryside in rural Ghana.

Enough is enough. The time has now come for Ghanaian environmental activists fighting illegal gold mining across the country, to seek even more effective collaboration with Western enviromental groups, to ensure that all gold produced in Ghana is properly scrutinised by both local regulators and the leading gold refineries in the West.

That will force all the gold mining companies in Ghana to run their businesses in a more ethical manner - by ensuring that all the gold they produce is mined responsibly: both socially and environmentally. And about time too.

Any certification issued by regulators here must only be on that basis. We must ensure that the process of certification for gold produced in Ghana is transparent and corruption-free at all material times.

Ghanaian environmental activists must make sure that that is always the case - by sharing information with the media, ethical  jewelry industry and consumer associations, and  leading good refineries in the West. And some of us will. Most definitely.


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