Proposed Gold Mine Threatens Ghana Forest Reserve
August 13, 2008
To view this release as a webpage: http://www.earthworksaction.org/PR_NDG_Ghana.cfm
FIAN - WACAM - EARTHWORKS
For Immediate Release:
August 14, 2008
For More Information:
Mike Anane, FIAN-Ghana, +233-244-656632
Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, WACAM, Ghana, +233-244-679556
Payal Sampat, EARTHWORKS, USA, +1-202-657-6880
Ute Hausmann, FIAN-Germany, +49-702-0072
Proposed Gold Mine Threatens Ghana Forest Reserve, Groups Warn
Technical reviews of US-based Newmont s EIS indicate biodiversity, forest loss and water contamination risks from Akyem mine and point to significant flaws and omissions in EIS
Accra, Cologne and Washington, DC, 14 August 2008-- Environmental and human rights organizations from 3 continents have criticized plans by Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corporation to develop an open-pit gold mine in a Forest Reserve in Ghana. The groups today released expert reviews of the technical aspects of the mine project that document deficiencies in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The expert reviews point to major gaps in the EIS regarding reclamation plans, the potential for acid drainage, risks of water contamination with heavy metals and cyanide, as well as impacts on biodiversity.
"Ghana's forests have almost disappeared," said Daniel Owusu-Koranteng of Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), a coalition of Ghanaian communities affected by mining. "Ghana can't afford to build a gold mine inside one of our last remaining forest reserves."
If built, the open-pit of the mine would sit mostly inside of the Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve and destroy a quarter of the forest remaining in the Reserve. Species of conservation concern that would be at risk by the proposal include the Pel's flying squirrel (Anomalurus pelii) and several other mammal, bird, and plant species in and around the Reserve.
The project's proponents have downplayed the biodiversity of the Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve, claiming that it is already so degraded that destroying a large part of it is an acceptable cost. However, Scott Cardiff of EARTHWORKS notes, "Many threatened species occur in the Reserve. The forests are also important for communities and livelihoods, and for the area's water supply."
"Large-scale gold mining in this ecologically fragile forest reserve could also undermine food security in the area," notes Mike Anane of FIAN-Ghana, a human rights organization. Clearing vast stretches of forests and topsoil can disrupt ecological conditions that are required to maintain optimal agricultural productivity.
The technical analyses were prepared by Stuart Levit of the US-based Center for Science in Public Participation, and Scott Cardiff, a conservation biologist with EARTHWORKS.
For the technical review of the Akyem mine EIS and a summary fact sheet, see: http://www.nodirtygold.org/akyemtech.cfm. For background information about the Akyem mine, go to: http://www.nodirtygold.org/ghanaakyem.cfm. For general information about the impacts of gold mining, please see No Dirty Gold.
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