Don’t interfere with accidents at mining sites – expert

A Plant Metallurgist working at Aboso GoldFields Limited, Ing. Mrs Gladys O. Sarkpor, has warned host communities to desist from interfering with cyanide accident scenes at mining sites, especially when the chemical is being transported to the Damang Mine.
She explained that cyanide was a general term for a group of chemicals containing carbon and nitrogen, which was very dangerous and therefore, pleaded with the communities, especially children, not go near emergency sites.
Mrs Sarkpor gave the warning when she made presentation on the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC) awareness and emergency response at an emergency meeting of the Damang Mine Community Consultative Committee (DMCCC) at Huni Valley, in the Western Region last Thursday.
She stressed: “In case of emergency response during cyanide transportation, do not interfere. We don’t want the community to be involved in the evacuation. Move away from the scene and allow the driver of the truck to notify the office and AGL Cyanide Emergency Response to handle it.
“Don’t allow children to go near the scene for curiosity sake; it looks like salt and they will be tempted to touch it. The site should be cordoned and everybody except the team should be about one kilometre away from the scene.”
Mrs Sarpoh said that sources of cyanide included sodium cyanide, hydrogen gas, potassium cyanide and sodium cyanide and it is generally used in the production of gold.
She mentioned that the chemical was highly poisonous when mixed with moisture in air, steam, acid or water, and was also dangerous when some lethal dose was taken orally or inhaled.
The plant metallurgist told the meeting that exposure routes of cyanide to the human body were inhalation, face splash and consumption.
She continued: “Cyanide looks like camphor and bigger than salt and transported by road only between sunrise and sunset, the truck which must be road worthy at all times is fitted with tracking systems.”
Mrs Sarkpor said, cyanide loads travel in convoy from Tema Port with escort emergency response and well secured away from the public.
“In case of cyanide accidents call AGL security control on 0277555311. Cyanide is poisonous and dangerous. We will evacuate everybody; as far as possible, everybody should go home because you can inhale it.
We will do our part to protect human life and the environment, but you also have a role to play so that together, we are all safe from cyanide accidents,” she said.
Mrs Sarkpor assured that AGL was committed to safeguarding the transportation of cyanide to the Mine site and would protect mine plants against any spillage into the communities, adding “our safety engineers are well-equipped with personal protective equipment to handle emergencies.”
The Municipal Chief Executive of Prestea-Huni Valley, Dr Isaac Dasmani, encouraged communities to take the lessons on cyanide serious so as to safeguard their safety and security of the environment.

From Clement Adzei Boye, Huni Valley

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