DEPUTY Minister in the Vice- President's Office (Environment), Hon. Charles Kitwanga, has commended the Geita Gold Mine (GGM) for managing environment well within its mining operations.
Mr Kitwanga made the remarks following a one-day working visit he made to GGM last Monday.
"Generally your mine is doing a good job ... I am impressed." However, he urged the mine to keep the government up-to-date with its endeavours and processes towards for becoming a cyanide discharge compliant company. Cyanide is a highly toxic gaseous poison released in mining operations.
During the visit, Hon. Kitwanga toured the Nyankanga mining pit, tailings storage facility as well as some of the rehabilitated areas in WD1. To date GGM has rehabilitated 436 acres of disturbed land and planted 165,000 trees last year alone.
At the mine he was informed that they have in place an Environmental Policy focus on pollution prevention, they ensure compliance to legal and regulatory requirements as well as investors' commitment to continual improvement. For instance, GGM is ISO 14001 and OSHA 18001 certified since 2001.
The ISO status has been re-certified three times in 2004, 2007 and 2010 the next re-certification will be conducted next year. To add to its best practices record, the GGM Managing Director, Mr Gary Davies, told the deputy minister that the mine has started a process to be registered with the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC).
The objective is to ensure that the mine's cyanide discharges are compliant to international standards. The MD said the move towards the goal is progressing, inspectors from ICMC have been to the site frequently and measures are in place for GGM to become compliant by the end of next year.
The minister was informed that the in-place environmental policy manages all environmental aspects including hazardous materials, process slurry (Tailings), domestic and general waste, noise and vibration, ambient air and water quality, flora and Fauna, potential acid rock drainage (ARD) as well as meteorological and hydrological parameters.
The deputy minister also toured Nyakabale Village to witness artisanal mining operations. Nationally, the mining sector is being governed by more than 25 different legislations. During his visit, the minister was accompanied by the Acting Geita Regional Commissioner, Hon. Rodrick Mpogolo, Acting DED, Mr Charles Kimaro and Resident Mine's Officer, Haruna Sementa as well as other senior officials from Geita district.