Buried in the earth is a precious metal that has turned the fortunes of individuals and even nations. Many have devised many means in getting hold of this precious metal in order to inure to their benefits. Those who mostly become the heroes whose songs are sung by many are men. Little is heard of women who defy all odds to make it in the business of this golden precious metal.
Meet Joana Gyan Cudjoe, the only female licensed gold exporter. Her love for gold stems from the fact that she was born and bred in a mining community, Wassa Agona in the Amenfi area of the Western Region, where it all began.
“My parents were both farmers and miners and as an eight-year-old girl in Ghana, it was instructive that I help my parents hence gaining the experience on the job,” Joana tells us in this interview that there were many girls of her age who went through a similar experience, but her perseverance and love for gold and later coming to appreciate that it could be of prime importance to her community got her to this path —the gold business.
Her large size family of nineteen (19) siblings, a COCOBOD sub contractor father, and a farmer mother meant one must fend for himself or in this case, herself.
With time she gained the trust of her colleague small scale mining workers and contractors to move from carrying the sand and washing to selling and then a partner.
Thirsty for adventure, Joana ended up on the streets of Accra oblivious of the tough and harsh conditions in the city. To survive, she engaged in menial jobs as the saying goes “Accra staying by plan”. It was during that turbulent period that the purpose for her on earth smiled at her. Golden Empire Legacy was birthed.
This empire was birthed on the foundation of meeting the right people, vision, teamwork, and being focused.
“A number of the small-scale miners trusted me because they knew I was one of their own,” Joana recalls.
Moving from the pits to well-regulated mining did not come easy but she gives credit to the Minerals Commission for the huge technical support.
Determined to change the status quo and set a pace and eventually leave a legacy, the Queen of Gold has so far won many laurels for herself.
The latest is the persons of the year and certificate of excellence plus three other big ones; including being adjudged Africa’s Best Female Miner at the just ended Foreign Investment Network (FIN) Africa-UAE Trade and Investment Forum 2021 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
There is also the Forbes Certificate of Distinction as the Leading Female Miner of the year 2021.
Dr. Mrs. Joana Cudjoe is determined to be the reason gold mined in Africa inures to the benefit of those living in abject poverty.
She tells us these footprints are just the beginning of giant steps.