Shaanxi Mining Company Ghana Limited, whose site at Talensi in the Upper East Region recorded the explosion that killed 16 people in January this year, has been fined $40,000 after it was found culpable for the accident.
The fine was imposed after investigations by the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission found the company liable for various infractions that resulted in the accident at its mining enclave.
It has also been recommended that the foreman at the centre of the blast, Mr Asibi Seidu, be dismissed immediately for abandoning his post without permission.
The company was fined $10,000 for storing explosives underground without the approval of the Chief Inspector of Mines in violation of regulation 163 of Legislative Instrument (L.I.) 2177.
In addition, it was also fined $10,000 for failing to ensure that the safety code for blasting was approved by the Chief Inspector of Mines and another $10,000 for not recording the blasting that was undertaken on January 22, 2019 in the shift log book.
The company was further fined another $10,000 for appointing a supervisor who could not communicate to his patrol team in a language they could understand in line with Regulations 56(3) of L.I. 2182.
On this same matter of sanctions, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, mentioned that, Yenyeya and Pubeortaaba mining groups have also been jointly fined $10,000 for not having blast time notices in the Gbane community where the companies undertake their mining activities.
At a press conference in Accra last Tuesday, he stated that, the report on the investigations also directed for a known miner in the Gbane community, Mr. Kwasi Appiah, be sanctioned severely for allowing a dug pit in his compound to be used by illegal miners to access the underground workings of Yenyeya and Pubortaaba which led to the fatalities.
“In addition, Mr Emmanuel Osman and Akurugu Vanga, who conducted blasting on Level Two on January 22, 2019, shall be suspended for three months without pay for failure to conduct proper risk assessment prior to the blasting in breach of Regulation 175 of L.I. 2177,” he said.
While highlighting on the key findings by the Minerals Commission, the Minister also pointed out some recommendations. As such, a month ultimatum has been given to the owners of Yenyeya and Pubotaaba mining groups to appoint competent persons to oversee the activities of the support service company, Shaanxi Ghana Mining Limited.
He also directed that no small scale mining concession should be allowed to be within large scale mining concessions. The Shaanxi Mining has also been asked to immediately employ additional shift bosses and mine captains to supervise the activities of the company latest by April 30, 2019.
On January 23, 2019, 16 miners died following an explosion within the mining concession of Chinese company, Shaanxi Mining Limited.