‘Chemical Spills Now Under Control’

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EPA Deputy Executive Director Urias Goll

Says EPA, stresses that Sayewheh Town now safe for normal activities

After several weeks of investigation into the recent chemical spills in Korkoya District in Bong County leading to 34 persons being injured and the contamination of creeks and other wetlands, the government says the situation has finally been put under control.

The Inter-Ministerial Crisis Management Team (CMT) constituted by the government, in a statement recently, said while it is working with stakeholders to find amicable rehabilitation solutions to the damaged TSF (Tailings Storage Facility) it is safe for residents to carry out normal activities, including farming and schooling in the area.

It may be recalled that there was a chemical spill when a section of the geo- membrane of the TSF ruptured at the MNG Gold facility on September 27 affecting the victims, who were taken to Phebe Hospital in Suakoko for immediate medical attention.

The rupture resulted from an uncontrolled discharge of ‘slurry’ containing a high concentration of cyanide into the Sein Creek and the surrounding environment at MNG Goldmine in Korkoya.

An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) release revealed that much has been done to restore the livelihood of the people of Sayewheh Town.

The situation led to the temporary closure of all hand pumps and a ban on farming activities and mining.

The statement signed by the EPA communications director, Danise Love Dennis, said it was observed during the CMT’s recent visit to the site that the tailing of slurry had been scooped behind the containment pond and test showed that the free cyanide level at the point of rupture (in the TSF) is currently below the permissible limit while the free cyanide level at the Containment Pond remained below the permissible limit.

“There was no detectable free cyanide in samples collected from all six hand pumps, indicating no groundwater contamination while free cyanide concentration within the Sein Creek remains at zero,” the EPA said.

The CMT which investigated the chemical spill that affected 34 persons at the MNG Gold Mines in Korkoya, is making efforts not just to unveil what might have gone wrong, but also institute stringent measures that would ensure that such an unfortunate incident does not happen again.

“As we await the final results from three community members who have been taken to JFK memorial hospital for further medical examination, it has been noticed that doctors at Phebe Hospital and MNG clinic found no direct correlation of cyanide to the illnesses reported. Once the medical reports from JFK are received, the public will be informed,” the release said.

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