The Ahafo Mine of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) is estimated to produce four million ounces of gold annually from its proposed underground mining, the acting General Manager, Joshua Mortoti, has announced.
It has currently been doing 322,000 ounces through surface mining.
He said the underground operation would additionally extend the lifespan of the mine to year 2033 and create more than 600 permanent jobs.
Mr. Mortoti made these known at a public hearing held at Kenyase-Number-Two on the proposed project.
He told the people that there was going to be a rise in the mine’s contribution to the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF), from US$17 million to US$25 million, to support the development of communities in the area.
If approved, construction works on the project, would begin in 2017, with commercial gold production set to start by the third quarter of 2018.
Mr. Mortoti expressed concern about, what he said was the volatile gold prices, high cost of inputs and declining ore grades.
It was against this background that the prospect of developing the “Subika pit” for the underground gold mining, should be a refreshing news to the people.
Mr. Michael Sandow Ali, Head of Mining of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), gave the assurance that due diligence would be done before giving the greenlight to the mine to commence the project.
The agency would carefully evaluate the interventions and measures put in place to address noise pollution, blasting and preventing the destruction of water bodies.
Despite the assurance by the EPA, many in the area remain opposed to the project.
They are demanding that the mine put in place realistic and sustainable mitigation measures before it is allowed to mine underground.
Abdallah Salifu, a teacher, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of the forum, insisted that the activities of the Mine had adversely impacted the lives of the people.
He said the 10 years of surface mining had polluted rivers and streams running through the area and destroyed farmlands.
Those who lost their farmlands to the mine were finding the going really tough, as they had no alternative livelihoods, he added.
The forum was organised by the EPA to collate views and concerns of the people about the project.