Ghana: Newmont Responds to 'Public Eye Award'

Newmont's Akyem project has been extensively studied by international and national environmental experts, members of the communities living in the area, and by the appropriate governmental agencies and departments.

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.

The project has also engaged directly with numerous community representatives, NGOs, government agencies and international organizations on several occasions. These processes have demonstrated Newmont's respect for the Akyem community, and its interest in opinions which are supportive or contrary to the company's views.

While Newmont values opposing views from groups and individuals who have demonstrated seriousness in understanding the project, its impacts and mitigation measures, it is clear that the nomination of Newmont for the "Public Eye award" is misleading, and in its many inaccuracies describing the Akyem project. Nor was Newmont even told of the nomination or given any opportunity to respond, much less attend the ceremony.

The "Public Eye award" has been issued based on several paragraphs of text which clearly were intended to distort the facts. Every subject raised in the proposal had been studied by Newmont, discussed with the local communities, and presented in the environmental impact study, currently being reviewed by the Ghana EPA.

Again, these studies were subjected to international and national environmental expert review and that of agencies of the government.

Three public hearings have been held at Akyem by the Ghana EPA, the first two in November 2004 and June 2005.

In July 2008, at the final hearing, the Akyem communities demonstrated overwhelming support for the project and this was widely reported in the media.

In 2007, Newmont became the first gold company selected to join the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index because of the company's industry-leading environmental and social performance.

Dr Chris Anderson, Newmont Ghana's Director of Corporate & External Affairs, says: "We continue to welcome serious and thoughtful input regarding our operations, as we seek to continually improve our performance.

We welcome those who wish to engage in constructive debate to ensure the project is developed based on mutual respect and the creation of value for those who are affected by our activities."

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