Mining Engineer of Newmont Gold Ghana Limited (NGGL) Ahafo Mine Project in the Asutifi District of the Brong Ahafo Region, Mr Stephen Kpabitey, has disclosed that the company has reclaimed a total of 70 hectares on its 550 acres of its gold mining concession in Ahafo to its natural land state to supplement the company’s environmental stewardship agenda.
According to him, the reclaimed land would be used for agricultural purposes in its host communities and assured the company’s commitment to demonstrate ethical behaviour and comply with all laws enshrined in the minerals and mining Act 2006 (Act 703) of the country. Speaking to members of Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA), who were on a tour of NGGL Ahafo Mine recently, Mr Kpabitey revealed that about 12.9 hectares of land in its total of 550 acres concession has undergone reclamation this year.
He mentioned that 56 hectares of land have been closed and reclaimed between the period of 2015 and 2016 with local and foreign tree species to regain its natural form for reuse by the host communities.
Mr Kpabitey noted that Newmont Africa remains committed to operating safely, maintaining environmental standards and creating shared value for their stakeholders in the countries and communities in which they operate. “Before we mine gold we take the laterite (top soil) and store it somewhere.
And what happens is that after we have dumped the site, we slope the rock so that it doesn’t become too steep. We bring back the laterite and spread it over the area. “…in doing so, we try to check erosion by putting jute mat on it and creating lines after which we then begin planting local and foreign species to restore it back to its natural form which process is called reclamation. As you can see for yourself, this reclaimed portion has turned into a thick forest,” he emphasised.
There have been some concerns by policy think tanks, civil society organisations (CSOs), experts and individuals on social, economic, health and environmental impact of mining, especially on host communities.
Victims who have suffered several forms of human rights abuses have allegedly accused these multinationals of endangering their lives and the country at large by constantly engaging in illegal operations such as land alienation, destruction of land and water bodies, and labour exploitation.
Aside from being adjudged Ghana’s Mining Company of the Year 2015 by the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Newmont Gold Ghana Limited has been commended for its operational standards and reforestation efforts to reclaim each hectare impacted by their mining operations, according to a 2016 Africa Sustainability report by Newmont.
The report indicated that the Ahafo and Akyem Mines adhere to the highest standards of internationally acceptable environmental practices, adding that both mines have reclamation plans in place and are implementing concurrent reclamation to restore previously mined areas.
Newmont’s commitment to providing long-term environmental stability and beneficial post-mining land uses is stated in their Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Policy and their approach to fulfilling this commitment is detailed in their Closure and Reclamation Management Standard, the report indicated.
According to the report, Newmont plans and budget for concurrent reclamation efforts before operations begin and evaluate opportunities during the annual business planning process. The company has announced an additional 150 to 200 million dollar expansion project on the Subika field for underground mining to increase its commercial production from 150 to 200Koz in 2018.
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