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Newmont Refutes “Public Eye Award”


Newmont was recently nominated, along with 24 other companies, by the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) for the Swiss-based Public Eye Global Award, which attempts to shame global corporations for alleged unethical behavior. In its nomination, WACAM alleged our company acted irresponsibly by our intention to mine in a forest reserve in Ghana and "displacing thousands of farmers."

More than 150 Ghanaian community leaders have since issued their own statement opposing WACAM's award.

"Newmont was not informed of the nomination nor given the opportunity to respond," said Dr. Chris Anderson, Newmont Ghana's director of Corporate and External Affairs. "While we value opposing views from groups and individuals who have demonstrated seriousness in understanding of our mining projects, their impacts and mitigation measures, it is clear the nomination was filled with numerous inaccuracies about the Akyem project."

The Akyem project would mine about 12 percent of the southeast fringe area of the Ajenjua Bepo Production Forest Reserve; with all other mining activities undertaken outside the forest. The Ghanaian government classified the condition of the Ajenjua Bepo Forest fringes as mostly degraded due to long-term logging and timber harvesting. Additionally, the reserve is not one of the Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas in Ghana. Having now been put under a conversion circle, the forest can be mined for the mineral deposit in its degraded section.

Newmont's Akyem project has been studied extensively by international and national environmental experts, members of the communities living in the area, and by agencies and departments of Ghana's government. During the past five years, it has been the subject of a thorough environmental impact study, public consultation processes, an independent review process and overall regulatory review.

Every issue raised in the nomination has been discussed with local communities and the results presented in an environmental impact study that was recently reviewed by the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Our analyses have also been subjected to international and national environmental expert review, as well as that of government agencies. As a result, the EPA recently granted Newmont an environmental permit to operate at Akyem.

Project leaders have engaged with numerous community representatives, nongovernmental organizations, government agencies and international organizations on many occasions. These processes have demonstrated Newmont's respect for the Akyem community and its opinions - which are both supportive and contrary to our views.

In fact, at three public hearings held over the last few years by the Ghana EPA, the Akyem communities demonstrated overwhelming support for the Project and this was widely reported in the media. Our company has become a leader in Ghana, bringing innovation and high standards to its environmental practices, safety measures and commitment to social responsibility.