Newmont, Consar fined $2.7m

Mr John Peter Amewu,Minister of Lands and Natural Resources

Mr John Peter Amewu,Minister of Lands and Natural Resources

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has slapped a fine of more than US$2.5 million dollars on Newmont Ghana Gold Limited and its engineering and construction agent, DRA Ghana Limited for their role in the Ahafo Mine accident which killed six and injured four other workers.

 

Consar Ghana Limited, the contractor who was undertaking the construction of a reclaim tunnel as part of the Ahafo Mine expansion project, has also been fined US$200,000 dollars.

 

Failure to pay the fine would result in the suspension of DRA Ghana Limited from engaging in all activities at the Newmont Ahafo Mine for disregarding health, safety and security of their contract employees.

 

The engineering, procurement, construction and management agent would further be banned from undertaking any construction project management on any mining site in Ghana.

 

These were part of recommendations contained in the enquiry report on the fatal accident at the Newmont Ahafo Mine in the Brong Ahafo Region on April 7 earlier this year.

 

The employees were reportedly involved in pouring a mixture of concrete at the Reclaim Tunnel when the two-level formwork structure at the west end of the Reclaim Tunnel failed, killing six and injuring four others.

 

Subsequently, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu constituted an investigation team to conduct an enquiry into the causes and circumstances leading to the accident.

 

The recommendations, which have already received Ministerial approval and directives for implementation, also included a fine of US$10,000 to be paid by DRA Ghana Limited for operating at the Ahafo Mine site without Mining Services Operation Permit, a breach of Regulation 8(4 and 5) LI 2182 of 2012) as well as an additional fine of US$200 for each day that the company operated without the permit.

 

Similarly, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited was also fined US$10,000 for failing to ensure that DRA Ghana Limited obtained the permit prior to commencing operations and an additional US$200 fine for each day the company operated without the permit.

 

In addition to appropriately compensating the bereaved families and injured employees, Newmont Ghana was fined US$10,000 for failing to ensure the safety of contract employees working at the site.

 

The recommendations further called for a review of all organograms at Newmont Ghana to ensure that the General Manager has oversight responsibilities over all projects pursuant to Regulation 40 and 55, LI. 2182 of 2012 and imposed a fine of US$10,000 for breach of the provision.

 

It asked Newmont Ghana to immediately review its organisational structure to be consistent with operational responsibilities of the statutorily appointed managers to remedy the breach of the requirements under Regulation 35, LI. 2182 of 2012 and fined the company US$10,000 for the breach of the regulation.

 

The report also asked Consar Limited to provide logbooks on site to record instructions, activities among others and provide details of their Emergency Response Plans to the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission.

 

Consar Limited and Newmont Ghana Limited were fined US$10,000 each for failure to have site specific emergency response plan and for not ensuring that DRA Ghana Limited and Consar Limited had a emergency response plan.

 

In fulfillment of Local Content requirements, all mining sites, according to the report, must have a counterpart Ghanaian Consulting Engineers and Architects for all Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Management activities.

 

The report noted that government would not hesitate to withdraw licences and impose punitive measures if operators of mining sites fail to comply with all laws, regulations and terms of their licenses.

By Claude Nyarko Adams

 

 

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