Last Saturday's spillage of cyanide into Yaakyi, a tributary of River Subri in the Asutifi District, was as a result of the negligence of Newmont Gold Ghana Limited (NGGL), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated.
Mr Isaac Osei, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of EPA, told the GNA that Newmont failed to effectively monitor the rate of water flow into their environmental control dams and so when one of the dams began to overflow the Company could not detect it.
He said he had had occasion to advise the Company not to rely solely on machines but should also to engage people to monitor the dams daily, adding; "because they have been relying on machines when the overflow started they could not detect it on time".
On the extent of the spillage, Mr Osei said it was restricted to the Yaakyi stream and that remedial measures were taken before the polluted stream entered the River Subri.
On the impact of the spillage, Mr Osei explained that the negative socio-economic impact of the spillage on the local communities was minimal because the affected area had few small hamlets and the people were the first to detect the spillage through the number of dead fish they saw floating in the Yaakyi stream, adding that Newmont was now supplying potable water to the affected communities.
Mr Francis Kumah, Assemblyman for Dormaa Electoral Area of Kenyasi Number Two under which the affected area falls, told GNA that residents of Kwamebourkrom last Saturday reported to him that dead fish were floating on the local stream, Yaakyi.
He said he accompanied the residents and they traced the source to one of the control dams of Newmont that was overflowing into the Yaakyi.
Mr Kumah said when the Management of Newmont was informed it sent personnel in a dingy boat to collect the dead fish that were floating on the stream.
Meanwhile Ms. Adiki O. Ayitevie, Regional Manager, Communications of Newmont, in a release on Monday said Newmont's Ahafo Mine had contained and neutralized, within its mine site, a minor chemical overflow, which occurred at its processing plant on Thursday, October 8 2009.
It said the overflow contained gold ore active processing solution, including sodium cyanide.
Cyanide is highly toxic. Cyanide poisoning can occur through inhalation, ingestion, and skin or eye contact. One teaspoon of a 2 per cent solution can kill a person.
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