Newmont obtained the mining lease for Akyem in 2010 and began commercial production in 2013. In 2017, the Ghana Investment Promotions Center (GIPC) named Akyem the best company in Ghana for the second consecutive year.
The Akyem mine operates within 10 host communities in the Birim North District of Ghana’s Eastern Region namely: Adausena, Yaw Tano, Old Abirem, New Abirem, Hweakwae, Tano, Afosu, Mamanso, Ntronang and Yayaaso.
For us, enabling sustainable development means conducting our operations in a way that improves lives for current and future generations. Our sustainability efforts include maintaining relationships with our communities, serving as responsible stewards of the environment, and making a lasting contribution to local economic development.
Akyem began construction in 2011 and achieved commercial production on schedule and below budget in October 2013. The operation currently employs more than 1,900 direct employees and contractors.
Reforestation Offset Program
A small portion of Akyem’s operations resides in the Adjenjua Bepo Forest reserve. The impacted portion has been classified by the Ghanaian Government as a productive forest, which means exploration and mining for mineral deposits are permitted in that portion of the forest. Over the years, independent scientific experts have conducted studies to assess the reserve’s biodiversity value and environmental importance to guide the management initiatives and plans to offset the impact. Newmont Ghana has since completed Akyem’s reforestation program, reclaiming more than 300 degraded hectares in the Kweikaru Forest Reserve. The reforestation program covers an area that is three times the size of the area in the Ajenjua Bepo forest impacted by the Akyem mine.
Biodiversity Offset Program
Akyem received approval from the Forestry Commission in August 2017 to implement its Biodiversity Offset as an Environmental Permit commitment. The offset implementation site is within a section of the Atewa Extension Forest Reserve (AEFR) and the Southern Portion of the Atewa Forest Reserve (AFR). The Biodiversity offset program is a conservation action intended to compensate for the residual, unavoidable harm to biodiversity at the Adjenjua Bepo Forest reserve. The objective is to achieve ‘no net loss’ of biodiversity and, where possible, deliver a ‘net gain’.
As part of Newmont’s reforestation, biodiversity and reclamation efforts, the company has constructed a greenhouse with a total capacity of 70,000 for raising seedlings under controlled conditions.
Currently, the greenhouse has approximately 16,000 indigenous plants made up of 30 different species and 4,000 ornamental plants from nine different species. The plant seedlings are used for the community tree planting program, medicinal plant farm and donations to stakeholders for planting.
Vetiver is a hedge grass in Ghana known to be effective in erosion control. Akyem has established a four-hectare Vetiver plantation for concurrent reclamation and to control erosion on site.
As part of measures to reduce the impact of mining on wildlife, Newmont Ghana engaged scientific experts such as the Forest Institute of Ghana and Wildlife Services Division to conduct studies of wildlife including reptiles, amphibians and mammals in the area as well as the Adjenua Bepo Forest Reserve. No endangered wildlife species were found in the studies.
Community Tree Planting and Medicinal Plant Farm
About 1,600 ornamental plants have been planted at the Amanfrom resettlement village. Once grown, the trees will provide shade and serve as wind brakes.
Currently, community members travel long distances into the forest to acquire medicinal plants. Newmont Ghana has established a one-half hectare medicinal plant farm to provide nearby communities easier, safer and faster access to these medicinal plants.
Since 2007, Newmont Ghana has established a number of environmental monitoring programs to collect baseline data and operational monitoring. The current monitoring program includes water quality, blast, noise, air quality, precipitation and other meteorological parameters. Stream gauge stations monitor surface and ground water in the Akyem operation areas.
Newmont Ghana’s reclamation efforts are designed to accommodate sustainable and post-mining land uses. Akyem is implementing concurrent reclamation to restore previously mined areas. Akyem’s efforts include maintaining biodiversity and providing post closure multiple beneficial land uses.