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Business News of Monday, 11 May 2015

Source: GNA

SAVACEM to mine limestone in Central Gonja

The Savanna Cement Company Limited (SAVACEM) has applied to the country’s authorities to be granted a 49.98 kilometres squared concession in the Yakombo Forest Reserve in the Central Gonja District to mine limestone deposits in the area to produce cement.

The proposed limestone mining project will be undertaken on a 2.68 kilometres squared area within the 49.98 kilometres squared concession as the limestone deposits are scattered within the area.

In line with the regulations, SAVACEM, which uses local materials to produce cement at Buipe, has conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project and submitted the report to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for analysis and approval.

To this end, EPA on Friday held a public hearing at Buipe in the Central Gonja District to seek inputs from stakeholders regarding social concerns and the potential environmental implications of the proposed mining project on the catchment area.

Stakeholders, who attended the public hearing included chiefs and residents from Buipe, state agencies, civil society organizations and the four other environs, that will indirectly be impacted by the proposed mining project.

Mr Anthony Manu, Consultant to SAVACEM, who presented the technical report on the proposed mining project at the public hearing, said the move was to find additional resources to support as well as extend the operations of SAVACEM by 15 more years.

Mr Manu said environmental implications of the proposed mining project would be pollution of the atmosphere, destruction of floral vegetation, and noise on Buipe and four of its environs.

He said there would not be blasting when mining the resource because the limestone was loose, adding that, instead excavators would be used to carry it.

He said SAVACEM had put in place mitigation measures to prevent any negative impact of the proposed mining project on the communities closest to the operations.

During questions and answers session, it was clear that the chiefs and people of Buipe and its environs welcomed in principle the proposed limestone mining project but were concerned about its implications on the environment and their livelihoods.

Some called on SAVACEM to come out with alternative means of livelihoods for women whose farms would be affected as a result of the destruction of some of the Shea and Dawadawa trees in the forest.

Buipewura Jinapor II, Paramount Chief of the Buipe Traditional Area, was concerned about the implications of the project on the lives of residents of the catchment area and called for effective measures to mitigate the impact.

Mr Abu Iddrisu, the Northern Regional Director of the EPA said the concerns raised would be incorporated into the draft EIA for SAVACEM to address before a permit could be granted.