Tarkwa Banso – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has held a public hearing forum at Tarkwa Banso in the Western Region on a proposed re-mining pit project by the Ghana Manganese Company (GMC) Limited at Nsuta-Tarkwa.
Addressing the chief, elders and people of Tarkwa Banso on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) report on the proposed North “C” Pit project, Mr Ali Sandow, Tarkwa Nsueam Municipal Director of EPA, said the forum was to solicit social concerns and other implications of the project in accordance with Ghana Environmental Impact Assessment procedure.
Mr Sandow said in 2010 EPA detected that GMC Limited had started digging the north “c” pit which was not part of the initial agreement with their outfit.
He said as the pit had been a liability for the government of Ghana, EPA immediately stopped the activities of the company and rather asked them to procure the necessary document before they proceeded with the work.
Mr Sandow said the EPA had now received a draft EIS report by GMC Limited on the proposed project, as required under Act 490, section 12 (1) and Regulation 16 of the Environmental Assessment Regulations 1999 (LI 1652).
Mr Sandow said EPA is putting up these measures to ensure that they worked strictly according to the new mining law which stated that communities within 500 meters of a mining company should be relocated.
He said if the two parties came to a compromise an independent committee would begin assessment on the resettlement process for the Tarkwa Banso Community which would be affected if the company began operation.
Mr Omar Timtey, Community Affairs Manager of GMC Limited, said the re-mining operation would affect a smaller portion of the Tarkwa-Banso Community adding that the company was prepared to relocate that number.
He therefore appealed to the community to maintain calm as the company would be required by law to ensure that the welfare of every Ghanaian was put first.
Mr David Nsowa Ansah, Youth Secretary of Tarkwa-Banso, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that GMC Limited had not lived up to its social responsibility in the Tarkwa Community.
According to him, throughout the 100 years of mining in the community, the company’s operations had caused health hazards, cracks in their buildings and poor road network.
Mr Ansah said the community was not interested in the project because the company had failed totally in improving the standard of the community.
The Tufuhene of Tarkwa-Banso, Nana Kwabena Ewusi, said if management of the company wanted to reactivate their operations from the old pit they should be ready to resettle the whole town. GNA