MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Another Cyanide Spillage in Ghana

Published by MAC on 2001-10-30

Another Cyanide Spillage in Ghana

By Mike Anane

Barely 2 weeks after Ghana was hit by a major cyanide spillage, there has been another case of cyanide spillage into a marshland at a village called Kubekro near Wassa Akyempim in the Wassa Mpohor East District of Ghana's Western Region and this time SATELLITE GOLDFIELDS Limited is at the centre of the controversy.

Hosting a spectacular array of plant and animal species, the swamps provide the local people with mud fish, local medicines and bamboo for a wide range of uses.

A source at the country's Environmental Protection Agency said the incident occured on Sunday 28th October at 8pm and they notified residents in the area the next day Monday at 10pm.

In an interview, Mr. Senkyire, Chief Director of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology confirmed the incident and disclosed that " relevant emergency response procedures like detoxification of the cyanide are being implemented and the inhabitants have been cautioned to stay away from the area". He further disclosed that the EPA officer at Tarkwa has been despatched to the scene to monitor the situation and liaise with the EPA Head Office for further directives.

When the Head office of the Satellite Goldfields Limited in Accra was contacted, Sally Susu, Office Manager said she could neither confirm nor deny the incident, "the Managing Director has left for the area, please call him on his Satellite phone" she said.

On Tuesday 16th October 2001, a major disaster hit Abekoase, Huni village and a number of Villages in Tarkwa in Ghana's Western Region when several thousands of cubic metres of waste water contaminated with Cyanide was spilled into river Asuman when a tailings dam at a mine operation owned by the South African company GOLDFIELDS Limited ruptured. Hundreds of fish, crabs and birds were killed in this incident.

Meanwhile angry villagers say they are preparing for a massive demonstration to protest at the wanton destruction of their sources of drinking water and livelihood by Gold Mining Companies in the area.

"These people are destroying the environment and depriving us of our water and food, and nobody is telling them to stop. GOLDFIELDS spilled Cyanide into our river and now its SATELLITE GOLDFIELDS, these mining companies are having a field day at our expense" an angry resident fumed.

Mike Anane is the Head of the FIAN Coordination Ghana


For further information please contact:

Simone Pingel
Programme Officer-Africa Desk
FIAN International

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