Kenyasi, 7th November, 2012 -The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that the cause of fish deaths that occurred in Newmont Ahafo Mine’s Water Storage Facility (WSF) in January this year was due to low oxygen and fish overpopulation.
According to an EPA media release, the Agency’s investigations into the January 2012 incident indicated that, “Based on the result of the analysis, it is evident that the fish kill was NOT as a result of elevated levels of sodium cyanide and or heavy metal contamination. However, it was as a result of oxygen depletion and over population of fish stock of the WSF.” The EPA’s findings which also have been shared with the residents around the facility, corroborates Newmont Ghana’s internal investigations that attributed the fish deaths to low levels of oxygen at the time of the incident. This is a fact that has also been independently and publicly confirmed by the Water Research Institute of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research. The EPA’s release further stated that “most of the physical parameters analyzed were within the normal acceptable threshold for fresh water.” Commenting on the EPA’s release, Randy Barnes, Regional Vice President, Environment and Social Responsibility said, “The EPA’s announcement confirms our earlier findings that the cause of fish deaths was not due to cyanide or heavy metal contamination as was falsely claimed by some before having any facts or testing results.”
The Water Storage Facility is a fresh water dam built to provide supplementary fresh water for the Ahafo Mine’s Processing Plant. Newmont Ghana has already initiated steps to improve management of the WSF facility by implementing a program to depopulate the fish stock as recommended by the EPA. The pond was previously stocked with fish to control mosquito breeding.
The company has engaged a team of experts from the Water Research Institute, Fisheries Commission and the Hydrological Services Department of the Ministry of Works and Housing. The team of experts is carrying out a comprehensive ecological study of the Water Storage Facility to understand the seasonal nature of the fish deaths as well as its future management. Newmont remains committed to high standards of safe environmental practices and we will continue to do so to ensure the safety and well-being of our people within our host communities.