(AKYEM) BIRIM NORTH :
EPA warns mining companies
Mr A. A. C. Andoh, Director of Mining at the EPA, has said the Agency did not grant mining permit to Newmont in an earlier application because its Environmental Impact Statements at the time did not meet the requirements.
He said the EPA would continue to ensure that the country’s environmental laws relating to mining were met by prospective companies and gave the assurance that it would take into account all issues raised at the public hearing before granting a permit to Newmont.
Mr Andoh warned that EPA could withdraw a permit at anytime if it finds out that a mining company is not performing according to approved Environmental Impact Statement.
Opanin Kwadjo Kyei, Abusua pinyin of Adjenua who was the spokesman for the chiefs and people of Adjenua, denied that the community had protested against mining in the area.
He urged management of NGRL to help raise the standard of education in the Birim North area as part of their social responsibility for the people, adding that if possible, the company should to establish a university that would produce human capital for development.
Osabarima Owusu Gyamedu, spokesman for the Akyem Kotoku Traditional area, appealed to the chiefs in the area to unite to enable them to derive the best out of NGRL’s investment.
He warned that any act of disunity would create a fertile ground for the company and others operating in the area to exploit their differences at cost of the district’s development.
The Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines, Ms Esther Obeng Dappah said the government was committed to openness and transparency in the processes leading to mine development and would not cut legal corners but would ensure that the right procedures were followed.
She assured all stakeholders that regulatory agencies in the country including the District Assembly have the capacity to ensure that the right procedures were followed by mining companies.
Ms Dappah advised the New Abirim community to cooperate with NGRL and the regulatory agencies to enable the nation obtain the utmost benefit from its natural resources.
In a statement presented at the forum, a group of non-governmental organisations, led by the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining, called on the EPA not to grant NGRL’s permit because it would engage in surface mining which would destroy the Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve.
One Mr Kwesi Johnson, read the statement on behalf of the group.
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