The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has organized a public hearing on the proposed underground gold mining and processing project by “Gan He Mining Resources Development Company Limited” at Abreshia in the Wassa Amenfi East Municipality.

The project would be carried out at Huntado, Asuonkrom and Abreshia communities and is expected to cover about 64-kilometre square land in the Western Region.

The proposed underground mine operation will not require the relocation of any major settlement and about 450 youth in the firm’s host communities would be employed.

When “Gan He Mining Resources Development Company Limited” commences operations, the government would receive $22 million as tax revenue and $12 million will be paid to landowners as royalties.

The Acting Director of EPA, Tarkwa, Mr Prosper Nkrumah, explained that the programme was in accordance with regulations 17 (1a and 1c) of the Environmental Assessment Regulations 1999 (LI 1652) and Ghana’s Environmental Assessment procedures.

He indicated that the forum should have been opened to the general public, interested parties and groups to attend and make their views and concerns known.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions on public gathering, EPA opted to hold the forum online via zoom to provide the virtual space for the collection of views from the general public for the proposed project, he said.

The Acting Director of EPA implored the company to make their presentation in a very clear and concise manner to facilitate easy understanding.

He urged the public to scrutinize and offer constructive input in a civilized manner in order to achieve a win-win situation that will guarantee economic growth, social equity and environmental protection should the company be granted the permit.

The Administrative Manager for Gan He Mining Resources Development Company Limited, Mr Amin Ayamga, however, assured the citizenry that they would work closely with their stakeholders and address all challenges that may arise.

He said the company through the Municipal Assembly would assist the security agencies to combat the increasing crime rate in the Wassa Amenfi East Municipality.

Mr Ayamga added that through it’s cooperate social responsibility plan, they would provide vocational skills to the youth and residents and also support other income generation activities.

Most of the residents in the affected communities appealed to the company to adhere to all the tenets of the agreement they have documented as their source of livelihood has been taken away because of the mining activities.

Saamanghene Nana Kwame Ampong I, who represented the paramount chief of the Wassa Amenfi Traditional Council, Tetrete Okuamoa Sakyim, urged Gan He Mining Resources Development Company Limited to comply with the rules and regulation outlined by the regulatory authorities in order to ensure peace and stability in the area when they begin operations.