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Ghana: Newmont accused of downplaying impact of cyanide spillage

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10 May 2015

Ghana: Grassroots activist receives award commending his efforts to secure accountability following Newmont's 2009 cyanide spill

Author: GhanaWeb

'Wacam activist receives May Day award', 10 May: Mr Adusah Yakubu…of Wacam [Wassa Association of Mine Affected Communities]…was among…people…honoured at the 2015 National May Day parade…According to the citation, Mr Adusah Yakubu was at the forefront of the campaign to hold Newmont…responsible for the cyanide spillage which occurred…[in] 2009…[for which] government impos[ed]…a fine of US$ 5million (GHC 7 Million) on Newmont…The citation recognised the leadership role of Mr Adusah Yakubu in the struggle to hold the Asutifi North District Assembly accountable for the use of the community share of GHC 3.1 million of the penalty imposed on Newmont…for the construction of a Hospital…instead of…a market as proposed by the…Assembly…The citation stated that..[Mr Yakubu received the] [a]ward in recognition of his courage, sacrifice and commitment to the protection of the rights of communities affected by the operations of multinational mining companies…

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Company response
21 October 2009

Response by Newmont: Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) accuses Newmont of downplaying cyanide spillage at Ahafo mine.

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18 October 2009

Newmont apologises for cyanide spillage [Ghana]

Author: Ghana Business Network

Newmont...on Friday expressed regret over the Saturday 10th October 2009 cyanide spillage at its Ahafo Mine and said it would review its operating procedures to prevent a recurrence...Daniel Michaelsen, General Manager, Environment and Social Responsibility...said the Company has now heeded the advice of the Environmental Protection Agency...and has placed a staff...where the overflow occurred to check the water levels in case the computerised level indicator failed again...adding that Newmont would continue to supply residents of the affected area with an alternative source of drinking water until the people were fully satisfied.

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15 October 2009

[DOC] Statement of WACAM on the cyanide spillage by Newmont Ahafo mine [Ghana]

Author: Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, Wassa Communities Affected by Mining [Ghana]

It is worrying that Newmont employed every conceivable means including scientific dishonesty and misinformation to avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of the cyanide spillage. ...The cyanide spillage has exposed the weaknesses in the environmental management plans and the Emergency Response strategies of Newmont Ahafo mine because the company could not detect the cyanide spillage when it occurred and it took the sacrifice of community people...to disseminate information on the spillage as quickly as possible...to avoid fatalities...After indicting Newmont Ahafo mine of causing the cyanide spillage through negligence, the EPA cannot hold Newmont culpable based on any law. It is time to incorporate the “Polluter Pays Principle” in Ghana’s mining laws. [Also refers to Golden Star Resources, AngloGold Ashanti]

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13 October 2009

EPA: Chemical overflow at Newmont did not reach public [Ghana]

Author: Ghana News Agency (GNA)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday confirmed that the minor overflow of processing solution that occurred at Newmont's Ahafo Mines was contained within the mines and did not get into waters consumed by the residents of the area... Mr Isaac Osei, Brong-Ahafo Regional Manager of the EPA...said: "There is a computerised level indicator which signals the staff members... - it was at this point that the indicator gave them the wrong signal so they did not realise the overflow in time. This is where I thought they were negligent..." Mr. Osei said the chemical that spilled off was not raw cyanide but a processing solution which contained cyanide.

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12 October 2009

[DOC] Press release by Newmont on chemical spillage at Ahafo mine [Ghana]

Author: Chris Anderson, Newmont Ghana Gold Ltd

A minor overflow occurred at the Mine’s processing plant due to a faulty sensor. As you may know, the Ahafo Mine has been certified by the International Cyanide Management Code and procedures laid down by that code were all followed and the overflow was contained and neutralized within the Mine Site. No pollution of the water sources downstream from the plant site has been found...The inhabitants of the impacted hamlets have been supplied with alternative fresh water to use while further investigations are being undertaken to confirm the integrity of their water sources...

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