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13.10.2008 Regional News

OBUASI RESIDENTS THREATENS DEMO AGAINST AGA…for allegedly polluting waterbodies

By Albert Nana Asante, Obuasi - Ghanaian Chronicle

A NUMBER of residents in the Obuasi municipality, mainly from the Kokoteasua, Sampsonkrom and Kwabrafoso communities, have threatened to embark on a massive demonstration against AngloGold Ashanti (AGA), Obuasi Mine, for allegedly polluting waterbodies in their communities.

The residents gave a hint of the intended demonstration, when they stormed the office of the Municipal Co-ordinating Director, Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu, last Friday, to ask for immediate intervention to address their problem.

According to them, the AGA, as part of its environmental management system, constructed three Tailings dam at strategic points within the municipality, where its mine wastes are deposited, and because the dams are located up stream, they (residents) were always at the mercy of cyanide and other toxic substances, whenever there was heavy rainfall.

They added that because the Nyam and Kwabrafo rivers, which had been their source of water, were located near those dams, they could no more use them for fear of being poisoned.

According to them, they had on several occasions appealed to the mining company to come to their aid, but all their efforts had received little attention, hence their decision to hit the streets to express their seriousness about their problem.

They explained that their visit to the Coordinating Director, last Friday, was also to hint him of the intended demonstration, since they could no longer contain the situation.

The Co-ordinating Director in response, said the assembly was aware of the problem, and that it was currently into serious discussions with the company, on how to manage the situation.

He, therefore, appealed to them to abort their intended plans, to enable his outfit to dialogue with the mining company. Alhaji Ziblim told them that plans were far advanced to resettle the people of Dokyiwa, one of the communities where the company had constructed its tailings dam, to enable the latter expand the dam, as well as stop the negative environmental effects on the residents.

He added that the assembly had commissioned a study, into how to reduce the impact of those environmental concerns, and added that it was exploring avenues of getting the AGA to fund the distilling of those two rivers (Kwabrafo and Nyam), to allow the free flow of water.

The Co-coordinating Director said the assembly had institutionalised a bi-monthly meeting with the AGA and the Environmental Protection Agency, on how to control the discharge of cyanide and other toxic substances into river bodies.