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Business News Sun, 21 Sep 2003

Gold Mining Companies have measures to avoid cyanide

spillage .

Takoradi, Sept.21- GNA - Gold mining companies operating in the country have adequate precautionary measures to avoid the spillage of cyanide, according to Professor Daniel Mireku-Gyimah, Principal of the Western University College of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

He said even in case of accidental spillage that had the inherent danger of poisoning through inhalation, ingestion and absorption, among others, the companies have emergency response teams to contain the situation swiftly.

He was briefing Journalists on the management of cyanide, a poisonous chemical used in the extraction of gold, by the gold mining companies at a press soiree organised by the Chamber of Mines in Takoradi on Saturday.

Mr. Mireku-Gyimah's presentation, which had the topic, "the uses and management of cyanide in gold extraction", was to allay the fears and emotions of the public due mainly to exaggerated information on the effects of accidental cyanide spillage.

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He said the emergency response teams, have the requisite knowledge and equipment to prevent contamination and also decontaminate the areas affected, which include excavation of soil and vegetation and detoxification of materials by the use of appropriate neutralising agents.

He spoke about many other uses of cyanide that include industrial productions and pharmaceuticals, and said while the chemical could be toxic to humans and have adverse impact on the environment, if not properly handled, its usage cannot be avoid.

Mr. Mireku-Gyimah said even though there are other alternative ways through which gold could be extracted, this had proved ineffective and very expensive and added that the use of cyanide becomes dangerous only when the concentration becomes more than necessary.

He took the Journalists through the procedure through which cyanide is efficiently used in the extraction of gold and said the chemical is very expensive and the mining companies protects its spillage since it could be recycled for use again.

Ms. Joyce Aryee, president of the Ghana Chamber of Mines advised Journalists to update their knowledge about the operations of the mining companies and how these affects the environment so that they could provide adequate and truthful information to the public.

Source: GNA
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