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19.01.2005 General News

Communities accuse mining company of cyanide spillage

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Accra, Jan. 19, GNA - Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) on Wednesday accused Wexford Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Bogoso Gold Limited of spilling cyanide into river Kubekro in the Western Region.

A statement signed by Mr Daniel Owusu- Koranteng, Executive Director, WACAM said cyanide spillage by Wexford Ghana Limited was the second time in three months.

It said river Kubekro, which flows into River Pra provides fish protein and a source of drinking water for some communities in and around the Sekondi.

The statement said some of the communities affected by the spillage included Kubekro, Senkye, Juaben, among others. The association expressed disappointment about how Bogoso Gold Limited was conducting its operation in the country and its insensitivity to the environmental and social impact of its operations.

WACAM pointed out that Bogoso Gold Limited did not provide adequate medical care for the people of some communities who mistakenly drank water and ate poisoned fishes during the cyanide spillage in October last year.

According to WACAM, it was the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that had taken responsibility to provide medical care for people affected by Bogoso Gold Limited on October last year.

"It was therefore, worrying that Wexford Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Bogoso Gold Limited has also spilled cyanide and may get away with it," the statement said.

WACAM said the inability of regulatory agencies to impose stiffer punishment on companies that spill cyanide that had encouraged mining firms to act in an irresponsible manner.

"The spate of cyanide spillage by mining companies strengthens the position of WACAM that companies are taking undue advantage of our weak mining legislation to destroy our natural resources," it added. WACAM was of the view that the country needs environmental laws that would criminalize such bad mining practices like cyanide spillage.

It therefore, called on EPA to urgently release the report on the cyanide spillage of Bogoso Gold Limited and also investigate cyanide spillage by Wexford Ghana Limited.

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