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National Coalition on Mining objects to surface mining in forest reserves

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The National Coalition on Mining, a non- governmental organization (NGO) made up of 18 organizations, individuals and persons from communities affected by mining operations in the country have objected to surface mining in forest reserves in the Birim North District.

The coalition has, therefore, called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) not to grant environmental permit to Newmont Golding Ridge Rresource Limited to conduct surface gold mining operation in the Ajenua Bepo Forest Reserve in the Birim North district

These were contained in a statement presented by the coalition at the third public hearing organized by the EPA at Yayaaso, near New Abirem.

Presenting the statement, a Spokesman for the coalition, Mr Kwasi Johnson said a new draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) presented to the EPA by the Company proposed to develop a surface gold mine in the District and this would directly affect 1,915 hectares through the removal of vegetation, soil and subsoil, waste disposal and tailings dumps.

He said out of the total land area, 74 hectares were located in the Ajenua Bepo Forest Reserve, which is rich in biodiversity, would be opened up for destruction by surface mining.

Mr Johnson noted that destruction of the Forest and the hill would have severe consequences on the rainfall pattern and distribution in the area and also affect six rivers, which took their sources from the mountain in the Forest Reserve.

He said the EIS report identified 18 major heritage sites, nine of which were of archaeological significance and two of prehistoric value distributed around the concession to be mined.

The Minister of Lands Forestry and Mines, Ms Esther Obeng Dapaah said the Government would ensure that the right procedures were followed to enhance the development of the mining industry in the country.

She urged Newmount to execute all its environmental and other related obligations under the legal framework to ensure that the nation and the communities were not left worse off after the life of the mines.

The Regional Vice President in charge of environment and social responsibility of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, Mr Nick Cotts said the Company would be committed to sustain development protection of human life, health, the environment and add value to the communities in their operations.

He said Newmont would consider technical, environmental and social aspects of the project and to find solutions and develop plans that would maximize the benefit and minimize or mitigate the negative impact in accordance with Ghanaian laws and internationally accepted standards.

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