Appiatse explosion: Govt slaps Maxam Company with $6m fine …over breaches in manufacture, storage, transport of explosives

 Maxam Company Limited, the company transporting explosives which detonated, killing 17 and injuring several others at Appiatse in the Prestea-Huni-Valley Municipality of the Western Region has been fined US$6 million.

Imposed by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, it includes an administrative fine of US$1 million and a further US$5 million to be paid to the government.

The fine followed a review of the report of the independent investigations carried out by the three-member committee to corroborate, or otherwise, the findings of the Minerals Commission by the Minister.

A statement signed and issued by Mr Jinapor in Accra yesterday said, “Upon a review of the two reports, the Ministry has established regulatory breaches on the part of Maxam Ghana Limited in respect to the manufacture, storage and transportation of explosives for mining and other civil works.”

The breaches, per L.I. 2177, attract fines ranging from GH¢600 to US$10,000, it noted.

However, the statement said the minister imposed the hefty fines due to the nature and totality of the circumstances leading to the tragic incident.

It stated that Maxam would be required to pay the fine before the restoration of its permit to manufacture, store, supply and transport explosives.

The statement said the imposition of the fine and agreed sum to be paid was without prejudice to any criminal or civil liability Maxam may be subjected to.

In addition to the fine, it noted that Maxam had been given some measures to comply with, as a condition precedent to the restoration of the permit of the company to manufacture, store, transport and supply explosives.

They include a 48-hour notice to the Chief Inspector of Mines or the Regional Mines Inspector to enable the requisite inspection and certification to be carried out before the transportation of explosives to a mine or quarry site, the statement added. 

“All trucks used by the company in carting explosives shall have red flashing light clearly visible, at least 100 metres away; klaxon or siren, hooter or automatically operated bell; an automatic fire suppression system alongside the fire extinguishers; a tracking system to monitor the speed and movement of the explosives truck; an integrated monitoring system to check driver fatigue; a megaphone to warn people or bystanders in case of danger; and drive cameras to monitor the explosives’ truck drivers,” it stated.

Additionally, all trucks transporting explosives must be accompanied by escort vehicles which should be inspected by an Inspector of Mines, and all the details recorded in the Inspector’s Field Book, the company must not, unless otherwise expressly permitted by the Chief Inspector of Explosives, transport Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil (ANFO) on a public road to a mine or civil work site, among others.

The statement noted that the set-out measures apply to all other companies operating in Ghana in the manufacture, supply, transportation and use of explosives.

It said regulatory breaches and possible sanctions against Jocyderk Logistics

Limited and Arthanns Enterprise and Transport Services, the two entities involved in the fatal incident, was being reviewed and would be applied and communicated soon.

The conduct of officials of the Minerals Commission and related officials in the matter, the statement indicated, was also being reviewed and further action would be taken where necessary.

The ministry further assured that it was putting in place all the required measures to ensure that mining and mine support services were conducted in a safe and healthy environment that poses no danger to life and property.

It would be recalled that on January 20 this year, a truck transporting explosive materials exploded, causing extensive damage to life and property. 

In all, 17 persons reportedly died from the incident while more than 100 people sustained injuries.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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