A survey conducted by the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has shown that many buildings in mining communities are of low standards and therefore susceptible to deterioration.
The survey said buildings in most of the mining communities are of low standards, high in clay contents and without any external activities such buildings are prone to dry and begin to crack.
Dr Charles Akayuli, Head of the Geotechnical Division of the BRRI, said such buildings deteriorate mainly due to the poor quality in both engineering and materials.
He was making a presentation at a day’s workshop for journalists in the Eastern Region in Koforidua organized by Newmont Golden Ridge Limited (Akyem Project).
On general blasting activities by mining companies, Dr Akayuli explained that per the survey carried out in the mining communities, it had been established that most of the buildings did not suffer cracks and deterioration from the blasting activities but specifically due to their poor quality.
Many mining companies over the years have had to deal with complaints from the communities about cracks and deterioration of their buildings due to blasting that had resulted in demonstrations and severed relationship between mining communities and mining companies.
According to Dr Akayuli, despite the establishment that buildings in mining communities are not of quality materials and therefore would deteriorate on their own, the regulatory agencies of mining companies had come out with a policy that required a baseline data to be the reference point in addressing communities’ concerns after any blasting.
He said the mining law allowed blasting to be done at a minimum particle velocity of 3.5 that every building could withstand but Newmont is blasting at 1.5 particle velocity and it meant that “Newmont is even below the required minimum level of blasting and therefore would not have any impact on the community”.
The Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr Felix Addo-Okyireh, said Newmont was conforming to the mining regulations and this is evident in their monitoring and evaluation activities.
Mr Oduro-Kwarteng Marfo, the External Relations Manager of Newmont Akyem, said the company was committed to the mining laws to ensure that its operating communities did not suffer and as a measure the company was re-vegetating all open areas.
He said the Minerals Commission had approved its blasting procedures and would continue to engage its stakeholders including the communities and the media to be abreast with their activities to reduce suspicion and other unhealthy developments such as misunderstanding and demonstrations synonymous with mining areas.