The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu has recounted how Africa’s biggest goldfields, the Anglo-gold Ashanti, located in Obuasi in the Ashanti Region came about.
According to the Asante Monarch, “In 1897, before Asante lost its sovereignty, two brothers from Fante, Joseph E. Biney and Joseph E. Ellis arrived in Asante to ask for concessions to establish a gold mine”.
“They had, on their own, undertaken geological studies to establish the quantum of gold in the hills around Obuasi. They were granted the concessions, appropriately, by the chiefs. The brothers then went to the City of London, with all their feasibility studies, to look for partners to join them in what they knew was going to be a highly profitable business”.
However, “while the City was excited about the prospects of the company, none wanted to be a partner of the native boys. Thus the Biney brothers were compelled to sell the business to City tycoons who ran the mines from London for years before passing it on to South Africa. The mine became synonymous with General Spears and Tiny Rolland instead of the Bineys’ who started it all”, he narrated.
Otumfuo further revealed that this account demonstrates that gold has been the backbone of this country since its inception.
“What these stories tell us is that Gold has been the backbone of this nation since the beginning of history. Gold was Asante and it was the clamour for gold that was the main driver of our colonial conquest. It was not without reason that we were called the Gold Coast.”
This was stated by the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll during his speech at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi on Sunday, December 12, at the unveiling of the Asantehene Commemorative Gold Coins.
The Asantehene Commemorative Gold Coins were unveiled at Manhyia Palace over the weekend. The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll was the prominent patron of the event.
He went on to say that, from the Gold Coast to sovereign Ghana, gold has played a major role in the growth and sustenance of the country’s economy. But while the nation has gained enormously from the metal, and is the largest gold producer in Africa. And yet, “we cannot help acknowledging that legitimate questions remain about the proportionality of the benefits relative to the traditional areas from which the metal is mined”.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamud Bawumia, and his wife, Samira Bawumia, were among the dignitaries present at the launch, as were the Chief of Staff, Madam Akosua Osei Opare, Ministers of State, Ambassadors, and Chief Executive Officers of both state and private firms.
Source: Opemsuo.com/ Emmanuel Owusu Anti