Tarkwa (W/R) Feb 19, GNA, A day's forum on Rehabilitation planning for Mine closure was held at Damang near Tarkwa .
The forum, which was organised by Goldfields Ghana limited, Damang Mine brought together Chiefs, Queen mothers, opinion leaders and Assembly members drawn from Mine's catchments area of operation and representatives from Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM).
Mr. Robert Siaw, the Community Affairs Manager of Damang Mine said the forum was to afford the participants the opportunity to discuss the rehabilitation planning towards the closure of the Mine. He said, there should be an understanding of all stakeholders, especially communities in relation to Mine Closure Planning, adding, farming within the Mine concession should even be agreed upon by the Mine and prospective farmers.
Addressing the forum, Mr. Mike Ali Sandow Tarkwa District Programme Officer of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the closure plan examines the best means of planning and subsequently managing the environmental changes and socio-economic effects that occur when mining ceases.
He said the primary aim of the forum was to ensure that the decommissioning and rehabilitation of the mine can be successfully achieved.
And to make an achievement, he said certain conditions including reducing the risk of pollution, restoring land and landscape, and preventing further degradation so that the resulting conditions would pose minimal risk to people and the environment.
Mr Sandow said mining companies should realise that public perception and expectations are challenging corporate strategy and corporate reporting was the end product that reflects attitudes to environmental issues.
He said if this state was achieved then the mine operator can literally "walk-away" with the knowledge that there will be no future liabilities, adding, during this consultation process the potential or required end-use would be established, whether it is agriculture, forestry, nature reserve or a heritage site.
"If the mining industry was honestly going to embrace the concept of sustainable development then the successful closure of the project should be as important as the profitable operation of the mine". He added
During the open forum Nana Esi Foriwaah, Queen mother of Kyekyewere appealed to the mine to dig more boreholes closed to their farms to serves as a source of potable water supply and also ensure that streams are maintained to enable them carry out vegetable farming even during dry season after mine closure. Again she said, apart from oil palm they should also try growing cocoa on some of the rehabilitated sites.
Other concerns expressed included adopting conservation tillage farming using the local farmers and setting up of quarry to use some of the waste rocks to serves as source of employment and income generation for the communities.
Participants were taken round to rehabilitated sites, including south tailings storage facility, northeast waste rock areas where cassava, plantain, oil palm and some timber species have been planted. Feb. 19 05