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Fish found in water bodies surrounding the Tarkwa and Damang mines are healthy, according to Gold Fields Ghana, which operates both gold mines located in the Western Region.
Results of analysis conducted last year by the Environmental Monitoring Laboratory of the University of Mines and Technology, (UMaT) show that the fish are edible.
"We have tilapia, mudfish, cassava fish and salmon. Laboratory analysis did not detect the concentration of harmful chemicals in the tissue of the fish, such as the gills, bones and flesh," explained Dr Celestina Allotey, Vice President and Head of Sustainable Development for Gold Fields West Africa.
Dr Allotey noted, in full compliance with regulatory requirements and international best standards, the company implements a habitat quality evaluation programme, which ensures maximum protection of animals and aquatic species at the Tarkwa and Damang mines.
"We periodically do visual health and toxicity assessment of fish in our water bodies. To reduce the impact of our operations on the fish, we work to reduce sediments and constantly monitor changes in pH, toxic heavy metals and alterations in the water bodies."
Gold Fields Ghana strictly prohibits fishing as well as causing harm, endangering and killing animals at its mines. The company considers a breach of these rules a grave offence that could result in dismissal.
"The ecosystem benefits associated with our inland fisheries and aquatic resource conservations, watershed protection and pollution prevention practices make a substantial contribution to achieving the goals towards No Poverty (SDG 1), Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), and Life on Land (SDG 15)," Dr Allotey said.
Gold Fields Ghana, part of the global Gold Fields Group, says its commitment to responsible stewardship of natural resources is evident in the "continuous improvement in our environmental performance".