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19.12.2005 General News

Mining should not destroy the environment - Churcher

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Accra, Dec. 19, GNA - Ms Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science, on Monday urged investors in the mining sector not to let their immediate economic benefits overshadow their commitment towards environmental management.

"We all know the economic benefits that is derived from mining and the role that mining companies are playing in the private sector led economy. But we should not allow the economic gains to override the environmental concerns, otherwise our children and the generations yet unborn, will be made to suffer for our failure," she noted. Ms Churcher said this when Ms Imori Akpofure, Country Manager of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), financiers of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, led a four member delegation of the Company to call on her in her office in Accra.

The discussion, most of which was behind closed doors centred on the environmental requirements of Newmont Ghana, in relation to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.

Ms Churcher, who received the team with Dr Gyesika Agamblia, Deputy Minister, said if the land was not managed in line with the Environmental Protection Agency requirements, some mining communities could be left as landless people, with disastrous consequences for the nation at large.

" The Ministry is not in conflict with any ministry in relation to mining, but ours is to ensure that every activity that is undertaken in Ghana is done in an environmental sustainable manner, so that the future generations have stake in the resources of our nation," she said. Ms Churcher urged the mining companies to maintain an open door policy with their communities as a way of minimising the conflicts that were usually associated with mining.

"Effective communication between the mining companies and the communities will go a long way to halt the frequent confrontations that had characterised some company activities across the country," she said. Mrs Raacheal Kyte, Director, IFC Environment and Social Development Department, on behalf of the team thanked the Minister for the reception and promised to liaise with Newmont in ensuring that the right actions were taken in line with the mining activity. "If we are to finance Newmont, we would make sure that they are environmentally responsible, " she said.

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