Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited, a mining service support company, has been fined US$40,000 for its role in the accident which claimed 16 lives at mining companies in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.
The company was also to form mine rescue brigades teams in accordance with Regulation 548 of the Minerals and Mining Regulations, 2012 and establish an emergency response centre to support the mine in case of emergency by June 30 this year.
Further to that, it was expected that the company employ a ventilation officer to monitor the underground ventilation system as well as additional shift bosses and mine captains to supervise its activities by April 30.
For failing to have blasting time notices in the Gbane community, Yenyeya and Pubortaaba Mining Groups, which had contracted Shaanxi for underground blasting services, were also fined US$10,000.
These were part of recommendations in the report on investigations by the Minerals Commission on the accident which occurred when the company was conducting the underground blasting on January 22 this year.
Discussing the report yesterday in Accra, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, said the imposition of the fine was for various breaches of the regulations including appointing a supervisor who could not communicate to his patrol team in the language they understood and storing explosives underground without approval by the Chief Inspector of Mines.
It was also as a result of Shaanxi’s failure to ensure code of safe work practice for blasting was approved by an inspector of the Commission and for not recording the blast that were undertaken in the shift boss log book, he added.
The recommendations, which have since been adopted by the ministry, he said, did not make provision for the payment of compensation to the families of the victims because “the investigations found that the victims illegally entered the underground workings of the two mining companies to steal the blasted ore”.
However, the minister advised aggrieved families of the victims to seek redress for the court if they feel they have been unfairly treated.
In order to forestall such fatal occurrences in the future, he explained that among other things, the two mining groups were to post blasting notices in the operating community, install an alarm warning system and make announcements on the local radio stations to warn off the public before any blasting.
The mining groups as well as Shaanxi were also expected to submit all safe operating procedures to the Minerals Commission for approval by an inspector latest by March 31 this year, Mr Asomah-Cheremeh added.
Going forward, small scale mining concessions were not to be allowed within large scale mining concessions as it appears in the Talensi District and called on the Yenyeya and Pubortaaba mining groups to take immediate steps to protect their concessions against illegal entries.
By CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS