Newmont Fined for Cyanide Spill in Ghana

25 January 2010 (Last Updated January 25th, 2010 18:30)

Newmont Ghana Gold will pay $4.9m compensation for a cyanide spill at its open pit gold mine in Ghana in late 2008. The compensation will be split among the affected communities, the Ghanaian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission

Newmont Ghana Gold will pay $4.9m compensation for a cyanide spill at its open pit gold mine in Ghana in late 2008.

The compensation will be split among the affected communities, the Ghanaian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission, which suffered most from damage to the environment.

On 8 October 2009 an overflow of sodium cyanide process solution occurred at the company’s Ahafo gold mine processing plant site after a pond-level instrument malfunction.

A report by the Ghanaian EPA showed the company breached section 13.0(b) and 19.0 of the environmental permits published on 25 April 2005.

The Ghanaian Ministerial Panel, which evaluated the accident, has requested the company pay the amount for its inability to prevent, report and investigate the mishap in an appropriate and timely manner.

According to the Ghanaian Ministerial Panel report, the company is liable to pay compensation for simultaneously running several water ponds, informing the authorities and communities late and for lack of duplicate sampling.

Newmont said it is reviewing the Ministerial Panel's report and will collaborate with the ministry to solve any issues.