Newmont Ghana Finalizes Compensation for Accidental Overflow at Ahafo Mine
Accra, April 13, 2010 – Newmont Ghana today announced that the company has paid the compensation amount it was directed to pay following the accidental overflow of process solution at the Ahafo mine in October.
“Newmont Ghana has honoured its commitment to pay the compensation following the accidental overflow at Ahafo within the time frame outlined by the government,” said Newmont’s Senior Vice President for Africa Operations, Jeff Huspeni. “We have made the payment of 7 million Ghana cedis to the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology.”
According to the Ministerial Panel appointed by the Minister of Environment, Science & Technology, 45% of the compensation will be used to meet some development needs of the affected communities, 40% will be paid to the Environmental Protection Agency and the remaining 15% goes to the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission.
Mr. Huspeni emphasized that the company engaged with Ghanaian regulatory agencies to review and implement recommendations to ensure an accidental release of this nature does not occur again.
Ongoing environmental monitoring has confirmed that any impacts from the accidental overflow were short term and that there is no residual environmental impact or threat from cyanide to human health.
The company publicly apologized to the government and affected hamlets for the accidental overflow, which took place during the Ahafo Mine’s regular annual maintenance. Newmont Ghana stated that it “will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the safety of our host communities and re-establishing confidence in our environmental controls.”
The company, in participation with regulatory agencies, rigorously reviewed and modified its control systems and monitoring procedures to ensure such incidents do not happen in the future. Newmont Ghana instituted a number of corrective measures to:
- Reduce the risk of overfilling the event pond during mill shutdowns;
- Improve the reliability of the instrumentation and level detection systems;
- Increase the event pond pumping capacity to redirect process solution more quickly during rain events;
- Improve containment within the processing plant site in the event other systems fail during a process water overflow;
- Improve and accelerate communication with stakeholders; and,
- Improve onsite protocols and procedures.
“Our priority as a company is the safety of our neighbours, employees and the environment,” Mr. Huspeni said. “We are strengthening our risk awareness, emergency response system and environmental controls to ensure we continue to abide by industry best practices.”