Two environmental experts are this morning expected to look at the dyke at the Kara Kara end of the Bosai Minerals Group Guyana Incorporated’s tailings pond in Linden.
Regional chairman Sharma Solomon has requested the services of environmental consultants, Charles Ceres and Samuel Wright, who will accompany Bosai engineer, Wayne Bethune to examine areas where breaches have periodically occurred at the Kara Kara end of the tailings pond. This has caused flooding of yards and properties in the Kara Kara and Rainbow City residential areas .
The Kara Kara creek is the main area of concern since farmers use water from it for domestic and agricultural purposes.
The Bosai representatives told Stabroek News on Saturday that the breaches in the dyke have resulted from continuous heavy rainfall over the last quarter of last year and this January.
Bethune further stated that Bosai utilizes a system of channeling the overflow of muddy water through heavy vegetation to trap the filth, allowing for clear water to flow into the Kara Kara creek. He said the contingency plan has been set up to divert the water in times of heavy rainfall through a longer route into Noitgedact and into the Cockatara Creek.
According to him, the prolonged heavy rainfall caused the dam that keeps the slushy water within the tailings pond to leak silted up water into the three creeks that course into the Demerara River.
Pointing to other environmental concerns surrounding the tailings pond in the Kara Kara area, Bethune said that Bosai has prepared an area above the dam for the Linden IMC to dump solid waste it collects within the town but there is need for better management of waste disposal systems.
According to Bethune, a considerable amount of dumped garbage flows over the tailings pond dam and ends up in the Kara Kara creek. Bethune also pointed to the needs for residents to be more mindful of the welfare of others. He said while he was on an investigative visit of the dyke early last week, he saw a man park a pick-up alongside the creek, take an animal carcass from the vehicle and dump it into the creek. “Imagine this person did not care that people use water from the creek for drinking and cooking,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Wright said there is an environmental management strategy that has been signed onto by the major stakeholders of Region Ten. According to Wright, under the strategy Bosai has the responsibility of making monthly reports on the status of the tailings pond which would be sent to the region’s environmental management committee. Wright said had Bosai been vigilant in monitoring the tailings pond and filing monthly reports, corrective measures could have been taken to avoid breaches in the dyke.
Over the years, residents in areas such as Kara Kara, Rainbow City, and Industrial Area have experienced periodic flooding by polluted water from the tailings pond.
On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency said it was monitoring the tailings and pond discharge which had increased as a result of heavy rainfall.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Natural Resources, while the dam remains intact, the management of Bosai had since diverted the normal discharge course over a longer area to allow for natural filtration before entering Kara Kara Creek. The release said that this measure has resulted in the Kara Kara Creek showing signs of turbid tailings flow. “As such, the Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that Bosai Minerals Group Guyana Incorporated cease discharge from its wash plant until the measures which include completing the diversion path, building a dyke, and strengthen the overflow before restarting discharge”, the release said.
The release said that the Ministry’s Environmental Protection Agency will continue to work closely with the management of Bosai to monitor the situation and to assess the measures in place before restarting discharge and recommend further mitigation measures.
The collapse of the tailings dam at Omai Gold Mines Limited in 1995 sent large amounts of cyanide waste into the Essequibo River, sparking the biggest environmental disaster in the country.