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Mining with Principles at Gold Fields’ Damang mine tailings site in Ghana

Healthy ecosystems are essential for the health and wellbeing of all life on Earth, but they are deteriorating more rapidly than ever. ICMM members implement innovative restoration techniques to address impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, supporting nature’s recovery.

ICMM’s Mining Principles commit members to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. One way companies can address their impacts on biodiversity, where it cannot be avoided or reduced, is through ecosystem rehabilitation.

The South Tailings Storage Facility (STSF) had served the mining operations at Gold Fields’ Damang mine in Ghana for over a decade. The tailings facility was selected for rehabilitation as it has reached it operating capacity and many animals species had begun using the tailings facility supernatant pond.

Through a combination of earthwork initiatives, agroforestry techniques, wetland and water management systems, soil conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and alternative livelihood initiatives, the STSF has undergone significant ecosystem rehabilitation. The site now has self-sustaining wetlands with local fish, and the area is used to grow plants such as sugarcane, bamboo, and raffia palm, for the benefit of local communities.

Through a collaboration with the local Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry for Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation, approximately nine hectares of oil palm were handed over to selected local communities to provide alternative livelihoods in the area. The development of an agroforestry system has also resulted in improved soil nutrients, yielding an abundant supply of healthy food (after laboratory confirmation) and cash crops - such as oil palm, vegetables, cocoa, coconut, citrus, leguminous trees, maize, cocoyam, and plantain.

Observations of increased birds nesting, as well as small and large mammals, insect colonies, reptiles, amphibians and species in the soil indicate high levels of biodiversity in the area.