Maxam, the company that manufactures the explosives that were being transported in a vehicle by a subcontractor, Arthaans Logistics, when the tragic explosion occurred at Appiatse, has said it has had an unblemished record over more than thirty years of supplying explosives to the mining industry in Ghana and neighboring countries.
The company says it recognizes the importance of its product for the value that Ghana and other countries derive from their natural resources, notably gold, and will continue to work with the mining industry and subcontractors involved in the transportation and use of these explosives to ensure safe handling and use.
“Maxam has been deeply saddened by the road accident and the loss of lives, injuries and extensive damage to property suffered by the Appiatse community. Our hearts go out to the community members.
“Maxam has noted the findings made by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources from its review of the tragic road accident and its assessment of how to avoid a recurrence. The Ministry has determined that there were certain breaches by Maxam in its operations and has imposed a fine of US$1 million on the company. None of these breaches were the cause of the tragic road accident and all of them relate to the transport carried out by Arthaans Logistics. Based on a different interpretation of the applicable regulations, we believe that Maxam has not committed any of those breaches, however, to ensure the continuity of the business, to be able to supply our customers, to protect the employment of our workers and sub-contractors, Maxam has decided to pay the fine and will comply with the measures of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
“Given our commitment to Ghana and its welfare, Maxam has agreed to the payment of additional Five Million United States Dollars or its cedi equivalent.
“We are indeed saddened by the incident and we express our heartfelt sympathy to Ghana, particularly, members of the Appiatse community for the loss of lives, property and livelihoods. Maxam will ensure it is in full compliance with the new regulatory measures announced by the Ministry and will continue to conduct its operations in accordance with the laws of Ghana and international best practices. Maxam wishes to emphasize its sympathy with the Appiatse community.”
The company has been slapped with a fine following the explosion that occurred at Appiatse near Bogos in the Western Region, following investigations into the matter.
A statement issued by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Kinapor on Tuesday February 8 said “Following the incident, the Minerals Commission, the regulator of the mining industry, conducted its investigations, in accordance with the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L. I. 2177), and submitted its report to me. Given the complexity of the matter, I constituted a three-member Committee, chaired by a highly reputable former Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Mr. Benjamin Aryee, to carry out independent investigations to corroborate, or otherwise, the findings of the Minerals Commission.
“On Tuesday, February 1, 2022, the three-member Committee submitted its report. Upon a review of the two repo., the Ministry has established regulatory breaches on the part of Maxam Ghana Limited (hereinafter referred to as “Maxam”), in respect of the manufacture, storage and transportation of explosives for mining and other civil works. These breaches, per L.I. 2177, attract fines ranging from six hundred cedis (GI-1000.00) to ten thousand United States dollars (US$10,000).
“Nonetheless, having regard to the nature and totality of the circumstances leading to this tragic incident, I, as the Minister responsible for Lands and Natural Resources, and, therefore, the overseer of activities in the sector, have imposed an administrative fine of the cedi equivalent of one million United States dollars (US$1,000,000.00), at the prevailing commercial rate, on Maxam.
“In addition to the fine, it has been agreed, after extensive discussions with Maxam, that the company will pay to the Government, the cedi equivalent of five million United States dollars (US$5,000,000.00) also at the prevailing commercial rate. For the avoidance of doubt, the total amount payable by Maxam to the Government stands at six million United States dollars (US$6,000,000.00) or its tech equivalent at the prevailing commercial rate.
“Maxam shall pay the fine of one million United States dollars (US$1,000,000.00) or its cedi equivalent at the prevailing commercial rate before the restoration of its permit to manufacture, store, supply and/or transport explosives. Given the demonstrable cash inflows of Maxam and their current circumstances, the remaining five million United States dollars (US$5,000,000.00) shall be paid in eighteen (18) equal monthly instalments, beginning from 1. March, 2022 to 1. August, 2023.”
It is recalled that the Chief Executive Officer of Minerals Commission shutdown the operations of Maxam Company Limited on Saturday, January 22, 2022.
Following the explosion the sector Minister Samuel Abu Jinapor, directed the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, with immediate effect, to suspend the registration of Maxam Company Limited with the Minerals Commission, thereby precluding the company from manufacture, transportation and/or supply of explosives for mining operations, pending the outcome of the investigations into this disaster.
“The Minister also, on 21st January 2022 directed the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission to interdict the Chief Inspector of Mines with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigations into the tragic event which took place at Apiate,” a statement said.
The Western Regional Manager of the Minerals Commission, Isaac Mwimbelle, accordingly, said “Based on the initial investigations that we are conducting, we find it prudent to evoke the law which states that if the inspector has any reason to believe some operation can result in further danger, then we should caused a cessation of same.
“We went to Maxam and asked them to stop work whiles we continue the investigations and make necessary recommendations to the CEO for onward submission to the Minister.
“We issued what we called prohibition notice which means they are not allowed to hold any activity on the site and they are to remove equipment from the site for their own safety”.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana