Community leaders and key stakeholders in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region have endorsed Wa Gold Project, Azumah Resources Ghana Limited (ASX: AZM), a multi-national gold mining company in Ghana.
The endorsement was made at the various public fora convened by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which were held at the villages of Nadowli-Kaleo for the Kunche-Bepkong deposits and processing operations at Bulenga for the Julie deposit.
The meetings provided opportunities for the stakeholders to be informed and to provide feedback about the social and environmental impacts of the company’s US$140 million Wa Gold Project,” said Azumah Managing Director, Mr. Stephen Stone.
“The company appreciates the support and endorsement of the local communities, not only for the proposed development, but also over the past ten years of continuous active exploration including the 5,500m RC and air-core campaigns now underway, “he added.
The meetings marked a key stage in the process of obtaining a EPA operating permit following the granting by the Ghana of government of two 15-year mining leases encompassing the Kunche-Bepkong and Julie deposits.
The fora were each attended by over 350 people including paramount chiefs, village chiefs and elders from some 16 villages, Tindanas (traditional landowners), district chief executives and Assemblymen.
Also present were representatives from the Minerals Commission, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Water Resources Commission, the Regional Minister’s office and the police and security agencies.
In 2015 Azumah submitted to the EPA a draft Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) setting out project details, its social and environmental impacts and the measures to be taken to manage and mitigate these.
The EIS was compiled by Ghana-based independent consultants, SAL Consult Limited, and was widely advertised and circulated to all stakeholders for review and feedback.
No formal adverse responses from stakeholders were received by the EPA.
Azumah will now finalise its EIS and engage with the EPA and communities to ensure that all the stakeholders fully support them to acquire an EPA permit.
In an exclusive interview with Today, Assistant Community Relations Officer of Azumah Resources Ghana Limited, Mr. Kenneth Bayelle, indicated his outfit’s commitment to continue to institute social investment strategy to promote economic growth in the project host communities including alternative income generation.
He noted that Azumah Resources’ objectives are to prevent or minimize any adverse impacts of its operations on the host communities in the Wa gold project area.
“We also plan to constructively engage with them while carefully managing expectations, as well as to selectively support local development initiatives,” he said.
According to him, the company would prevent and mitigate negative environmental and social impacts caused by project activities to promote and optimise local development by supporting sustainable community-driven initiatives.
Additionally, he said the company which holds three mining concessions in Wa East District alone, estimated at 324-km square promised to maintain community and government support for the company’s presence and activities and promote economic growth in the project area including alternative income generation.
“We will continue to raise awareness in communities and at national and regional levels of Azumah’s work and activities.
Azumah’s Social Investment Strategy will contribute to Ghana’s achievement of its Millennium Development Goals,” Mr. Bayelle told Today.
Source: Ghana/todaygh.com/Freeeman Koryekpor