Business News of Friday, 14 July 2017
WACAM, a non–governmental mining advocacy group has denied media reports suggesting that the organisation is spreading news that Ghanaians must not buy foodstuffs and fish from Kenyanse, in the Brong Ahafo region because they are contaminated.
Mrs. Hannah Owusu Koranteng, Associate Executive Director of WACAM in a press statement released on Friday has denied that her organisation has called on Ghanaians to stop patronising supposedly unwholesome foodstuff from Kenyase.
According to her, though the news is premised on a research conducted by the organisation on the exposure to toxicants in environmental contamination within the Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (Ahafo Mine) using the Human Health Risk Assessment approach; one “Mr Adusah Yakubu who is an indigene of Kenyase and a member of WACAM in Kenyase spoke to some journalists in his capacity as a community person, expressing his concern about the pollution of water bodies in the Kenyase area by operations of Newmont Ahafo Mine”. “Unfortunately, some slant has been put on the statement of Mr Adusah Yakubu to the effect that WACAM has warned people from buying foodstuffs from Kenyase area because they are contaminated” a portion of the statement reads.
The organisation thus wishes to inform the public, it has no intention of jeopardizing the commercial activities of Kenyanse traders and did not put out the information that people should stop buying from the area, as that reference was only the opinion of Mr Adusah Yakubu, in his capacity as a concerned community member.
Below is the full Statement:
PRESS STATEMENT OF WACAM ON THE RESEARCH CONDUCTED ON THE EFFECT OF THE OPERATIONS OF NEWMONT AHAFO MINE ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Wacam commissioned a research on the exposure to toxicants in environmental contamination within the Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (Ahafo Mine) using the Human Health Risk Assessment approach. The research involved the collection of a total of 70 water samples and 30 sediment samples collected from surface water bodies in the study area which had been affected by the operations of Newmont Ahafo Mine. In addition, 19 rain water samples were collected from the area. The analytical concentrations of arsenic, mercury, cadmium, manganese, and lead were used as input parameters to calculate the cancer and non-cancer health risks via exposure to these metals in surface water bodies and sediments.
The study indicated that on average, 4 and 5 additional cases of cancer are likely to be recorded via the oral exposure pathway in every 100 resident adults living in and around River Awonsu . The results from the study indicated that levels of arsenic in most cases exceeded the WHO permissible guideline values and that the pollution of some of the water bodies in the area can be attributed to uncontrolled cyanide spillages and acid mine drainage . The research further concludes that the pollution of water bodies in the area has serious impact on the lives of women because women would have to walk long distances in search of drinking water.
Similarly, the result of the elevated cancer and non-cancer health risks faced by the resident adults and children in the study area would put a lot of burden on women who usually take care of the sick in society. The research has been widely distributed to regulatory agencies and Ministries such as Minerals Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Environment Science and Technology, Ghana Chamber of Mines and other state agencies. Officials of Newmont Ahafo Mine participated in the validation of the research. There has been media reports attributed to Wacam that foodstuffs and fish from Kenyase area are contaminated and that Ghanaians must not buy foodstuffs from Kenyase area. This is not true.
The fact of the matter is that Mr Adusah Yakubu who is an indigene of Kenyase and a member of Wacam in Kenyase spoke to some journalists in his capacity as a community person expressing his concern about the pollution of water bodies in the Kenyase area by the operations of Newmont Ahafo Mine. He made reference to the findings of Wacam’s research and its effect on the people of the area. Mr Adusah Yakubu in expressing his opinion called on Ghanaians to show concern about the effects of mining on water pollution and the possible contamination of fishes and foodstuffs in their area because it can affect the health of people in the Kenyase area and other parts of the country.
Unfortunately, some slant has been put on the statement of Mr Adusah Yakubu to the effect that Wacam has warned people from buying foodstuffs from Kenyase area because they are contaminated.
We respect the opinion and worry expressed by Mr Adusah Yakubu and other members of the community because of the health implication of the effects of mining operations of Newmont Ahafo Mine on the residents. We wish to state that, Mr Adusah exercised his right as an affected community person to express his opinion but did not speak on behalf of Wacam.
We wish to explain that, Wacam’s external communication is such that the Executive Director, the Associate Executive Director and the Director of Communications of Wacam are the spokespersons of Wacam who speak on behalf of the organisation. Signed: Hannah Owusu-Koranteng(Mrs) (Associate Executive Director of Wacam) 14/07/2017