The Insight – TMCs: The Greatest threat to Ghana’s environment.

 

The huge pit you find in this photo not dug by prospecting small scale miners popularly referred to as Galamsey operators, it is the handiwork of Newmont Gold Mining Company headquartered in the United States.

Many of these pits are found in many parts of Ghana but no one talks about them and the Ghanaian media is not interested.

Traditionally Ghanaians obtained gold through small scale artisanal mining.  Small scale mines have relatively few environmental impacts compared to open pit mining and are much more labor intensive.

Mining companies in Ghana have had a terrible reputation for environmental degradation.  Eight large open pit mining companies are operating within a 2,354 square kilometer area in Wassa West District, the largest concentration of open pit mines in Africa.

The most frequent problem for mining companies is contamination from spills.  In 2001 there was a major spill of mine tailings at Tarkwa mine, operated by Gold Fields Ghana one of five major cyanide spills in a seven year period.

This spill released cyanide and heavy metals into the Asuman River, killing aquatic life for miles downstreams, leaving 1000 people without access to clean drinking water and contaminating all the food produced on adjacent lands.



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