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GHANA: Mines' cyanide spills targeted

Critics want more scrutiny after an incident at a Ghana gold site run by Golden Star Resources. The firm says villagers were not poisoned.

by Steve RaabeThe Denver Post
July 27th, 2006

Mining foes called Wednesday for greater international scrutiny of two cyanide spills at gold mines in Ghana operated by Littleton-based Golden Star Resources.

Environmental groups and anti-mining activists said Golden Star's cyanide spills have violated terms of the International Cyanide Management Code, a voluntary industry initiative designed to improve the management of cyanide at gold mines and reduce accidents.

Golden Star's Ghanaian subsidiary, Bogoso Gold Ltd., experienced a cyanide leak June 16 from a tailings dam into a tributary of the Aprepre river. The river is a source of drinking water and fish for the nearby community of Dumasi. A cyanide spill in 2004 contaminated the river.

In both cases, some villagers had already consumed water or fish from the river before being informed by the company of the spill, the activist groups said.

Golden Star termed the June spill "minor."

"The EPA in Ghana has warned the residents of Dumasi not to drink the river water

as it has been contaminated by activities unrelated to mining. Bogoso Gold is already providing the local area with potable water so there is no need for the villagers to drink the river water," said Golden Star spokeswoman Anne Hite.
She said a number of villagers who complained about potential cyanide poisoning were treated at a Bogoso clinic.

"None were found to have any ill effects," Hite said.

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