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25.03.2004 General News

Cyanide spills into stream

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Himan (W/R), March 24, GNA - Unknown volumes of solution containing cyanide from Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited (PSGL) escaped into Asesre stream causing the death of a lot of fishes at Himan near Prestea.

Consequently, the management of PSGL has advised the surrounding communities not to consume fishes from the Asesre stream until monitoring of cyanide presence in the water is thoroughly investigated. During a visit to the streamside, a fisherman who was engaged to collect dead fishes that were floating had had about 400, which were burnt and as at Wednesday morning the dead fishes removed had risen up to 1,000 and eight prawns.

Briefing the Ghana News Agency earlier, Mr. Anthony Sarpong, Technical Services Manager, said the solution spillage occurred after a heavy downpour last Sunday night.

He said as a result, water level at the enclosed area at the mine site containing the leaching tanks rose above the wall and escaped into the external environment to the Asesre stream.

In fact, Mr. Sarpong said on the following day it was not realised that such a spillage had occurred because the area had dried up. He said it was Himan chief's delegation which went to show PSGL management some of the dead fishes, which were found floating on the stream that raised the alarm.

He said applying detoxicants into the stream would cause more havoc to aquatic life.

Mr. Sarpong said the immediate water sample tests conducted indicated high level of cyanide.

He said security personnel have therefore, been detailed to prevent people from eating fishes or fishing in the stream.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sarpong said production has stopped pending putting in place possible measures that would prevent re-occurrence.

Among resent at the briefing were, Mr. Mike Sandow Ali, Tarkwa District Officer of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Annor Kyei, Assembly Member, Wassa West District Assembly, Mr. Joe Wiafe, Managing Director PSGL and Lawrence Yankson, Plant Manager PSGL.