By: Freeman Azietrogah K./www.africanakua.com/Ghana
Danger is looming over residents of Brahabebom, the gold mining and farming community in the Tarkwa Municipality of the Western Region.
The situation follows the recent gold dynamite explosion by Gold Fields Ghana Limited (GFGL), a multi-national gold mining company in the area, causing damage to lives and properties.
The disturbing commercial activities of the Gold Fields Ghana Limited which has been posing serious environmental health risks to the population of over 2,500 residents, Africa Nakua understands, are being done on the blindside of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Minerals Commission and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
School buildings and houses are being destroyed by the company since it started its commercial gold mining operation in the area.
“We are bringing this to your notice and to let all Ghanaians know how we are suffering in the hands of Goldfields in its gold mining operations. Gold mining activities are ongoing at 400 metres to the community and excessive blasting goes on routinely.
“When one gets up late at night you can smell the dynamite and all the chemicals used in blasting. With this in view, the community is in danger of industrial diseases, air pollution and cracking of buildings,” the residents cry out.
At a press briefing at Brahabebom which was addressed by the Chairman of Brahabebom Newtown Landlords Association, Mr E.B. Armoh Frank Mintah, he indicated that the affected residents made the public aware of the negative effects of the gold mining operations by Gold Fields Ghana Limited (GFGL) stressing that it violates the provisions of regulations 176 (1) of Minerals And Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (Li2177).
According to him, the excessive blasting carried out by the company sometimes exceeds the legal and regulatory requirements. He noted that the aggrieved residents and landlords have threatened to institute legal action against the company to enable the company pay compensation for damages and also ensure that due diligence is done during the blasting process.
He also complained that the activities of the gold mining company have affected their health and livelihoods, and thus called for the halting of what they described as “irresponsible” gold mining activities of the company.
“We are currently suffering from the operations of Goldfields Ghana Limited in the Brahabebom Community. Goldfields Ghana Limited operates three pits namely the VRA Pit, Atuabo and the Mantiam Pits which are located very close to the Brahabebom Community.
These pits are located less than four hundred “metres from the Brahabebom Communityand the operations of the company in the pits mentioned above have affected the people living in Brahabebom in many ways.
“The intensity of the blasting operations of the mine have caused cracks in ourbuildings and this fact has been confirmed by the work of consultant, Geosystems Consulting Limited which was commissioned by Goldfields Ghana Limited to study the effect of the dynamites blasting on our community upon the recommendation of the consultant,” Mr Mintah stated.
On February 27, 2019 the Concerned Landlords Association wrote to the Tarkwa Municipal Commander of the Ghana Police Service, “notifying them of our intention to go on peaceful demonstration to present our petition to the MCE which was intended for the office of the president on the 11th March, 2019” Mr. Mintah said.
“But the MCE refused, and called us (the chairman and secretary) to a meeting with Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) on the 7th March, 2019 asking us to hold on with our demonstration, because they were going to meet Goldfields and find a solution to how they use to blasts” he said.
On the 22nd of March 2019, he said “MUSEC met us at MCE’s office and after long deliberations; we concluded that a monitoring team comprising members of EPA, Goldfields, MUSEC, CHRA, Minerals Commission was to be formed to monitor the blasting activities of Goldfields after meeting with GFGL.”
The team started the monitoring, and moved to the Goldfields mine office, where they confirmed that they are mining within 400 metres away from the community.
“The monitoring started that day on 8th May. Some of the members were on the pit of which I was one, some also went to the community to monitor the blasting.That day blasting was very mild, that continued for three days and everything was fine. As soon as the monitoring was over, blasting went up heavier than before, and this continues to disturb those of us living in the New Town enclave,” he disclosed.
He added that “On the 4th July, Goldfields blasted so excessively as soon as the exercise ended. This means it was a total waste of time and energy forming and being part of the monitoring exercise. Hence, on 5th July, 2019, the Association wrote to the commissioner of CHRAJ withdrawing our participation from the monitoring exercise.”
He pointed out that On the 5th of August, 2019, the Landlords Association wrote a petition to the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources against the permit granted to Goldfields to continue mining 400mts from Brahabebom Community. After not hearing from the minister after one month, a Reminder was sent to the Minister on the same issue on18th September 2019.
The residents are calling on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government to, as a matter of urgency, set up a commission of enquiry to institute a full-scale investigation into the activities of the company.
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