AngloGold Ashanti’s Iduapriem Mine has invested $7 million into the purchase of a water purification plant to ensure the safe discharge of water from its production into the environment.

The mining company, which subscribes to the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC) for the management of cyanide, recently commissioned a Cyanide Sparing Plant, for the safe handling of the chemical in its operational area.

Additionally, it is aiming to get full certification by the end of 2012 as a result of several investments it plans to upgrade its processing plant.

These are part of measures by the company to guarantee the safety of its workers and communities in its catchment area.

The revelations came to light at the 2011 Zone Three Inter-Mine Safety/First Aid Competition held at Iduapriem in the Tarkwa-Nsueam Municipality of the Western Region, to assess the preparedness of the mining companies and their various communities’ First Aid teams to respond to emergencies.

Among the participating teams were AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem, Bogoso Mines Company Limited, Ghana Manganese Company Limited and Goldfields.

The new Managing Director of AngloGold Ashanti Iduapreim, Mr. Sicelo Ntuli said their daily mantra of “Safety is our first value’’ is indeed their way of life which is lived in every aspect of their operations.

He added that Iduapriem Mine’s policies place emphasis on international best safety and environmental practices and promised the company’s resolve to continue to operate within all globally acceptable standards.

He said the Iduapriem Advanced Incident Investigation, Emergency Response, Crises and Fatigue Management, are some of the programmes the Mine and its contractors have embarked upon to continuously improve upon safety practices.

On the whole, the mining industry in 2010, recorded a total of 216 incidents of which 137 were minor injuries, 39 serious accidents and 1 fatal accident, according to statistics at the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission.

The Ghana Chamber of Mines has also appealed to the Ghana Immigration Service and other stakeholders to investigate the activities of some foreign nationals in illegal mining to reduce the effects of their activities.

According to the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Dr. Joyce Aryee, several assurances by government to deal with illegal mining in the country have not yielded any results owing to the lack of political will.

“The delay in arresting the canker has emboldened these illegal miners who now cause havoc to the environment by polluting water bodies with mercury and other dangerous chemicals such as cyanide with careless abandon. The recent death toll coupled with flood incidents in various parts of the country as a possible result of these galamsey operations should remind us that we can no longer consider illegal mining as business as usual,” she noted.

She however assured Ghanaians that the Chamber would continue to implement policies that would help transfer health and safety skills to their host communities.

At the end of the keenly contested competition, the Host Company AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem emerged winners in both oral and practical tests, whilst the community First Aid Team, Ghana Manganese Company, was adjudged the best in emergency response.

All participants were awarded certificates of participation among other consolatory prizes.