Gold Fields Ghana has noted that it has initiated project studies to extract minerals from the brine of its water treatment plants, which can be used as the base for the production of commercial products such as explosives and fertilizer.

Casper Dzemoku, Metallurgy Projects Manager of Gold Fields, disclosed this during a recent visit by Sherry Ayitey, outgoing Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, to Gold Fields Ghana?s newly-constructed water treatment plant at Tarkwa.

The plant, which has the capacity to treat over 1000 cubic metres of water at a time, was commissioned in August 2012.

Mr Dzemoku said Gold Fields commissioned the construction of  two water treatment plants at its Tarkwa mine following the directive from the EPA, which shut down the North and South Heap Leach facilities for two weeks in July 2012 to reduce the water?s conductivity level before discharging.

?Though the Tarkwa mine was operating within prescribed requirements, in line with its commitment to implement environmental best practices and world class environmental stewardship, the company commissioned the construction of the plants.

?The water treatment plant at the North Heap Leach facility, which was constructed at a cost of US$29.6 million, was completed and commissioned by the end of 2012 and is fully operational.?

The various stages of treating water include clarification, two steps of filtration and reverse osmosis, which reduces the conductivity level to less than 400?s.

?Water to be discharged is cleaner than bottled water,? Mr Dzemoku noted.

The second treatment plant at the South Heap Leach facility is still under construction and will be completed in a few months.

The Vice President of Operations, Alfred Baku stated that although Gold Fields Ghana was bringing its operations at the south mine to a close, the company took the decision to continue with the construction of the water treatment plant at this facility.

?Once the operations is shut down the plant will serve as a backup for the treatment plant at the north heap leach facility.?

Ms Ayitey congratulated Gold Fields Ghana and expressed her satisfaction with the work that the company has done on the water treatment plant and looked forward to the completion of work on the second treatment facility.

Members of Gold Fields Ghana?s management team included Pierre Coussey, Country Manager, George Nutor, acting General Manager of the Tarkwa Mine and Hans de Beer, Engineering Manager, Tarkwa Mine amongst others.

Welcoming the minister and her entourage, Pierre Coussey explained that Gold Fields Ghana continues to have fruitful interactions with the EPA both at the local office in Tarkwa and the head office but expressed the desire for such interactions to increase.

He stated that the company would capitalize on opportunities from the construction of the water treatment plants to impact positively on technology and the mining industry.

By Samuel Boadi

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