The Ghana Journalists Network on Mining, Oil and Gas (GJNMOG), a media advocacy group, has described the explanation by the Communication Director of Newmont Ahafo Mine, Agbeko Azumah, that the large quantity of dead fishes found in one of the Newmont’s Environmental Control Dams (ECD2) constructed in the upstream of Awonsuo River, a tributary of Tano River, was due to heavy rainfall, as incomprehensible.
On Wednesday 30, May 2012, thousands of fishes were found dead in Newmont’s ECD2. No preliminary investigations had been done, yet Newmont explains the incident is caused by a heavy down pour that occurred on the night of Tuesday 29, May.
This, explanation by the Communication Director of Newmont, GJNMOG believes can prejudice any investigation that would be conducted. GJNMOG also find it very worrying the failure on part of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology and other regulatory bodies in the mining sector such as Environmental Protection Agency, Minerals Commission and Water Resources Commission to put in place proper measures to check activities of Newmont in its Ahafo Mine areas.
The National President of GJNMOG, Raphael Godlove Ahenu Junior, is advocating for immediate closure of the Newmont Ahafo Mine, to ensure that the mining giant put in place appropriate measures to forestall future occurrences.
Mr. Ahenu Junior expressed these sentiments when he visited the site of the incident. The President, who was accompanied by other leading members of the Network, advised Newmont to admit its fault and stop putting a spin on the issues.
GJNMOG would not turn blind to eye to activities of companies in the extractive industry that have deleterious effects on the environment and the host communities.
Mr. Ahenu Junior maintained that GJNMOG is not against mining but rather it despises irresponsible mining, calling on Newmont to adopt sound environmental practices to forestall future occurrences.
The National President recalled that Newmont on similar issue in December last year and early this year attributed the death of the fishes to Harmattan weather conditions and low level of oxygen in the Subri River dam and this time around attributing it to heavy rainfall.
He therefore advised the communities that reside around the river to stop drinking from the Awonsuo River until the laboratory result has been brought out.