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Business News of Saturday, 9 May 2015

Source: GNA

EPA holds public hearing on Newmont project

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has held a “public hearing” on the proposed Ahafo Mining and Processing Expansion project by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) at Kenyase in the Asutifi North District of the Brong-Ahafo Region.

The objective was a follow-up of a first public hearing on the scope and environmental impact assessment (EIA) report of the project presented to stakeholders under the auspices of EPA on May 9, 2013.

EPA was not satisfied with the report and directed the NGGL to prepare a new one.

That second public hearing therefore was for EPA to present a new EIA draft report to stakeholders including the public for them to know the social and economic impact of the project on especially the affected communities.

The hearing also enabled the Company to explain to the people structures it had put in place to address issues like water, dust, noise and general environmental pollution that would result from its operations when the project commences.

Mr Tommie Van Der Walt, Newmont’s Project Study Director for the Public Hearing indicated that the Project on its commencement would increase Newmont Ahafo Mine’s annual production to around 400,000-500,000 ounces.

Mr Walt said that would help the Company to deliver more shared value through royalties and task contributions to the country, but more importantly NGGL’s direct voluntary support of one dollar per ounce and one per cent of the net profit going to the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation.

“By increasing the processing capacity at Ahafo, it is possible to produce more gold at lower cost. Without the expansion project, production will dwindle, further limiting the mine life of 12 years”, he said

Mr Walt said “completing the project has a potential of increasing mill capacity from 7.5 million tonnes per annum to 12 million tonnes per annum, extending the life of Ahafo Mine to 2028”.

He said “The expansion project lowers economic c cut-off grade of the resource, converting more mineralised material into ore and unlock potential growth”.

Mr Walt implied that in the long term would sustain the Ahafo Mine to provide more benefits and opportunities for all, regarding among others employment for skilled and unskilled labour, direct payments of taxes and royalties.

In a forum some residents in some of the affected communities like Manu Shed and Damso complained of negative health effects by the Company’s operations because of noise, water and dust pollution and therefore called on Newmont to relocate the project as a matter of urgency.

Three paramountcies represented by Nana Osei Kofi Abiri, Kenyase Number One, Odeneho Dadeeako Kwabena Nsiah Ababio, Kenyase Number Two and Barima Twereku Ampem III, Ntotroso, in the Asutifi North District lauded the potential social and economic benefits of the proposed expansion project.

They however urged Management of the Company to take steps to address the concerns of the people to ensure a smooth take off of the project in August.