Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Newmont sets record straight on its acquired environmental permit to mine at Ajenua Bepo and nullify spillage of cyanide into water bodies in Ahafo

As WACAM agitates; “We are reiterating that, the objectives of protecting our water bodies and most especially stand against mining in forest reserves and government should revoke the environmental permit provided to Newmont to mine in Ajenua Bepo Forest reserves which serves as watershed”.

With Wacam’s agitation that, Government should revoke the environmental permit provided to Newmont Ghana Gold Limited to mine at the Ajenua Bepo in Akyem in the Eastern region, the outfit has clearly stated its intention of not allowing any negative mining practices and illegitimate land acquisition in Ajenua Bepo to breach the legitimate mining code of Ghana to further cause peril to inhabitants.
Delving into the excite of the non- Governmental Organization, the Communications manager of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited Adiki Ayitevie disclosed to The Ghanaian Reactor Online that, negotiations started way back when the National Democratic Congress was in power before the New Patriotic party had come into office and it was until 9 February, 2009 that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permitted them to mine in that area. The EPA authorized Newmont to back fill its pit and reduce the size of pit before permitted to operate. The forest reserve which is highly degraded at ‘‘condition 4’’ was set aside by Ghana Government for other purposes such as farming and mining among others.
She further stated that, farming activities had already started on the forest reserved land before, 12.7 hectares out of 569hectres at the southern boundary of the forest reserve was allocated to Newmont to mine this year. Already “galamsay” operators have also begun their activities on the land which according to her had high negative effects such as bad management of the land and non payment of tax to Government. It was some of these reasons that Ghana Government saw the need of giving that land to more efficient mining firms in the country and fortunately Newmont was chosen and certified to mine.
The Communications Manager said mining activities had not yet started, but all it was doing now is the education of community folks on environmental impacts among others. With feasibility studies on the new site it is likely that about 1,700 farm lands and 247 houses within the Akyem area will be affected, in view of that Newmont will be paying due compensations to affected inhabitants. And when affected persons are not happy, the various committees setup to address such challenges in terms of compensation among others would be made available to them such as the grievance resolution and negotiation committees, crop negotiations committees among others to take the issue and any one was still not convinced could seek redress at the court. This action she believed will help balance the status scope of all affected persons.
With other allegations such as the spillage of cyanide into the various water bodies in the operation fields of Newmont in Ahafo, Adikie debunked the false allegation and tasked any one with doubt to visit the Ahafo site in Sunyani to readily witness the good works Newmont Ghana was doing in terms of protection of water bodies and other corporate social responsibilities it was providing for the community.
Story by Michael Father Amedor

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