BY PHILIP ANTOH
THE GHANA Institute of Safety and Environmental Professionals (GhISEP) has expressed shock over the outcome of investigations into the multiple fatalities that occurred at Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (Ahafo Mine) on April 7, 2018, where six people died and four others sustained various degrees of injuries.
A release issued on June 5 signed by the National President of GhISEP, Nana Annor Amihere II, said though the release fell short of outlining the failures or disclosing the causes that were established through the investigation, it went ahead to explain the recommendations which were mainly fines, some of which had no basis in laws.
“It must be clearly stated that as a professional body that stands for health, safety and environment, we are happy about the way the Ministry of Lands and Mines, Mr Peter Amewu, handled the incident and the seriousness the minister in particular attached to the incident,” he said.
Nana Amihere commended the minister for visiting the scene of the accident and showing compassion to the bereaved families.
“Nevertheless, we are scandalised by the hefty USD 2.7 million illegal fines the minister has imposed in addition to the legal fines prescribed by the investigative report,” he stated.
Nana Amihere said almost every mining company in Ghana is OHSAS 18001-certified, and complied with several voluntarily crafted codes, including International Cyanide Code.
“Inspectors of mines visit mines almost every month to check compliance with the regulations and standards.
“We have seen several disasters in this country, including gas station fires and explosions; and continual road crashes that result in many needless deaths. In a case in point is the MMT bus crash that occurred at Kintampo in February 2016, where we had over 71 fatalities in a singular incident.”
To date, “we have no public information whether or not the victims are even adequately compensated. But in this case, the companies involved have gone ahead to set up a foundation for the victims’ families.
“We think, as unfortunate as the incident was, Newmont deserves commendation for how they have managed the incident and the affected families.”