The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, pursuant to section 100(1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 ( Act 703) has on Monday, 7th February, 2022 inaugurated a Five-member Committee of Inquiry to review health and safety standards in the Mining Industry.
This forms part of the many measures to forestall any future accidents like that of Appiatse and to ensure the safety of workers of mining companies, mining support services, as well as the general public.
The Minister said although an unfortunate incident the Appiatse explosion was, it provides an opportunity to examine, comprehensively, the entire health and safety regime of the industry.
“whilst we take action on all issues regarding the explosion, it will be completely remiss on our part to concentrate solely on the Appiatse incident, to the neglect of other health and safety issues in the entire mining industry”.
He added that giving the technicality and expertise of the task assigned, government through the Ministry has decided that the Committee will be chaired by the Vice Chancellor of the foremost University, specialised in mining and mining technology, the George Grant University of Mines and Technology, Professor Richard Amankwah.
The Minister said giving the credentials, expertise and experience of the Chairperson and members assembled, he is confident that, they will deliver on the task.
He gave the committee an ultimatum of one month to submit a report of their findings while advising that they may co-opt or form committees where necessary to deliver on the task.
Hon. Jinapor in his speech hinted that in the course of this week, he will be updating the nation on some of the consequential actions following the report of the investigation he has received from the Minerals Commission and the three-member Committee, constituted to undertake independent investigations into the the Appiatse explosion.
The Committee Chair and Vice Chancellor of the George Grant University of Mines and Technology, Prof. Richard Amankwah on behalf of the team expressed his profound gratitude to government and the Minister for the confidence reposed in them saying ” we are grateful, we take hold of it and we pray to do a good job”
He gave an assurance and hoped that very soon the incident of Appiatse will not only be about disaster but also about reforms to change the dynamics of the health and safety standards of the mining industry.
“As a Committee ,we will do broad consultations both in Ghana and outside Ghana and make a conscious effort to develop a document that will stand the test of time and help the nation to work well regarding health and safety standards and also be of support to the mining industry”.
The Chairperson disclosed that as their contribution as a University, towards the reconstruction of Appiatse, they have formed a Disaster and Emergency Management Hub which has taken images of the space, sizes and volumes of earth that was moved based on the explosion, adding that they will also test the soil before the buildings come up and “we are going to do it for free” He concluded.
The other committee members include Prof. Grace Ofori Sarpong, a representative from the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Ms. Effie Oppong- Fosu, Lawyer, Ghana Bar Association, Mr. Benjamin Aryee, Advisor on Mines to the Minister and Mr. Kwesi Enyan, former Inspector of Mines and Managing Director of Anglogold Ashanti.
Since this tragic incident which occurred at Appiatse, Government has taken several actions aimed not only at supporting the victims, but also for the reconstruction of the community. Amongst others, Government has visited and commiserated with the victims, committed to paying, in full, the medical bills of the injured, established an Appiatse Support Fund to support the victims and the community, and inaugurated the Appiatse Reconstruction Committee to commence the processes of rebuilding the community.