MAC: Mines and Communities

Moore's old almanac

Published by MAC on 2006-02-20

Moore's old almanac

20th February 2006

Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace turned private consultant, waxed lyrical in a recent article about Newmont's operations in Ghana (reproduced below).

But the real situation is very different from what Moore describes, as confirmed by last week's release of minesite fatality figures, and observations by MAC co-editor Abdulai Darimani of Third World Network Africa.

"We condemn the numerous deaths resulting from Newmont operations"

The following list is compiled by Richard Adjei-Poku, Operations Manager of Guards of the Earth and the Vulnerable, a community group in Kenyasi working on mining and the environment.

Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) came to the Ghana Ahafo area in 2002. Since their entry into the area their operations have resulted in the death of 6 people and caused severe injuries to many others.

The following shows the number of death occurrences through the company's operations.

1. Kwabena-Poku, 20 years old boy, was killed by Newmont Tipper-Truck on Sunday December 25th, 2004 at Kenyasi N0.2 junction.

2. Kofi Agyekum, 29 years old, and Yaw Frimpong, 32 years old, drowned in Newmont water storage facility (WSF) on Sunday September 14th, 2005.

3. Newmont vehicle killed a class six school pupil, Lot Amoako, on November 30th, 2005 and injured four others at Atronie near Sunyani.

4. Newmont Hand-dug well killed Adofo Asa, alias Obonsuo, a 35 year old man, on Friday December 9th, 2005 at Kwaku Duakrom near Dokyikrom.

5. Newmont client, BCM Toyota Land Cruiser, with registration number GR. 580 Q, killed a 2 year old boy, Francis Sarfo, alias Jerry, on Wednesday January 25th, 2006 at Kenyasi number 2.

Guards of the Earth and the Vulnerable (GEV) and its members are concerned about the increasing death toll resulting from the activities of the company (Newmont) and we condemn it. We also call on the company and the government to rise up to their responsibility. This is because no amount of gold that Newmont will get can pay for the value of these people who have lost their lives.

Issued and signed by

Richard Adjei-Poku

Operations Manager, GEV, February 2006

The New Face of Mining

by Patrick Moore, Resource Investor

19th January 2006

VANCOUVER (GreenspiritStrategies) --As I sit with Emanuel in the backyard of his new house in Ntotoroso, Ghana, surrounded by his wife, children, in-laws and mother, the enterprising dad explains through an interpreter how his family hasn't looked back since coming to the new settlement. He operates a home-based business, has managed to purchase some nearby farmland, and volunteers as chairman of the water sanitation committee, overseeing the process that ensures safe drinking water for his family and neighbours. In short, Emanuel and his family are feeling optimistic.

As a life-long environmentalist, a co-founder of Greenpeace and for almost two decades a critic of the fear-mongering tactics of that organization and others like it, I am astonished by the recent spate of reports in prominent media, critical of U.S.-based mining companies such as Newmont Mining [NYSE:NEM] and its operations in Ghana and Peru.

I've seen first-hand the developments in infrastructure and skills that companies committed to sustainability like Newmont can bring about. It's for that reason my organization has partnered withNewmont, and that's how I know such one-side reports are particularly off the mark.

So-called investigative journalism is increasingly full of factual errors and innuendo, and often fails to report the company's successes along the way to its becoming a leader in sustainability and acatalyst for change in developing countries. As a result, responsible companies like Newmont are vilified. In the end, it is the local villagers who stand to lose the most - a decent living wage.

New housing at Ahafo and Ntotoroso in Ghana is the result of Newmont's enormous contribution of resources and progressive thinking to the resettlement project. Resettlement principles,policies, procedures and rates were determined through a collaborative multi-stakeholder process.

The company consulted with district and regional town and country planners and designed 37 resettlement house types to meet the community's needs. Owners were able to customize their new homes.

Collaboration is centered around the Resettlement Negotiation Committee, a group that includes representatives of community members, traditional authorities, district and regional governments, non-governmental organizations and the company.

Homes provided in new settlements are far superior to the structures they replaced. If reporters actually visited these regions they would know this and if they had any concern for the villagers they would report the truth rather than make a mockery of it.

Cyanide has also fallen victim to media misrepresentation. There hasn't been a single mention of steps taken by companies to manage cyanide, and short shrift is given to the International Cyanide Management Code, organized under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Council on Metals and the Environment (ICME).

The Code focuses on the safe management of cyanide at every stage: transportation procedures; on-site storage and use in the recovery of gold; decommissioning of cyanide facilities; accident prevention; worker health and safety; emergency response and training; community dialogue; public reporting; and stakeholder involvement.

Companies that adopt the code must have their mining operations audited by an independent third party. This measure has resulted in real change across the industry.

No mention has been made of the fact that all modern cyanide leach operations are based on re-circulation systems with double heavy-gauge plastic liners and leak detection. Anti-mining articles seem to imply that cyanide is being spewed into the environment when this is not the case.

Nevertheless, readers should know that cyanide is present in the environment and naturally available in many plant species. Cyanide toxicity is not widespread due to its low persistence in the environment. Cyanide breaks down in sunlight and is not accumulated or stored in any mammal studied. There is no reported bioaccumulation of cyanide in the food chain - that is, it hasn't been shown that cyanide is passed up the food chain from one organism to the next.

World-leaders in mining are constantly refining environmental safeguards and enhancing social programs. I challenge any reporter to visit Newmont's relocation settlements in Ghana and Peru.Hard-working men like Emanuel-and his extended family-are living proof that Newmont operates with integrity and respect.

Since my entry into the global environmental movement in 1971 - and especially in the last decade - mining has contributed significantly to a more sustainable world economy, and key beneficiaries of this progress are mining workers, families and communities. How unfortunate the media is missing such an important part of the sustainability discussion.

Dr. Patrick Moore, Ph.D., is a co-founder of Greenpeace and Chairman and Chief Scientist at Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. in Vancouver, Canada. Recently he visited Newmont operations in the U.S., Peru and Ghana at the invitation of the company.

Comment by Abdulai Darimani

by TWN-Africa

February 2006

There are many faulty issues raised by Patrick Moore. Even as he accuses the media of one-sided reporting he ends up a culprit of one-sided reporting himself. I have been to Ntotroso and Kenyasi N0.2 where Newmount resettled a cluster of villagers.

The truth is the communities look nice and beautiful in layout. But there is a common reality in these two new settlements. They all now buy water because they no longer have access to fresh water supplies from natural sources. They complaint of lack of access to farmlands - Patrick Moore even affirms this when he reports that one, Emmanuel, had to secure land elsewhere for farming. In fact the land allocated to each household, asgarden/farmland, is not up to the size of a football field.

As a result many of the local people are out of a job and now queuing at the doors of Newmount for jobs. Many times the company reports the influx of people for jobs as an indication of the success of their operations.

What a contradiction!

Home | About Us | Companies | Countries | Minerals | Contact Us
© Mines and Communities 2013. Web site by Zippy Info