The government through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has set up a Fund to mobile resources to reduce the plight of victims of Apiate- Bogoso explosion.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon Samuel Abdulai Jinapor disclosed this to Parliament on Tuesday, January 25, when he delivered a statement on the disaster.
The Fund,he explained is part of government effort to get enough resources to the aide of the victims.
The Minister said the Thursday, January 20, explosion killed 13 people and over 100 persons seriously injured.
Hon Abu Jinapor therefore urged Ghanaians to contribute to the fund to help the affected residents of Apiate.
ATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCES,HON. SAMUEL A. JINAPOR, MP,ON THE APIATE EXPLOSION DISASTER, ON TUESDAY, 25TH JANUARY 2022Mr. Speaker,On Thursday, 20th January 2022, a deadly disaster befell our nation. A truck carrying explosives for mining, from the site of Maxam Ghana Ltd, a company registered and licenced by the Minerals Commission to provide mine support services in the nature of supply of explosives, to Chirano Gold Mines Ltd, a large-scale mining company, was involved in a tragic event, resulting in an explosion that led to the loss of lives and extensive destruction to property in Apiate, a community in the Prestea Huni-Valley District of the Western Region. Mr. Speaker, preliminary investigations have established that Maxam Ghana Limited had sub-contracted the transportation of the explosives to Jocyderk Logistics Limited, another company registered and licensed by the Minerals Commission to provide mine support services, in the nature of clearing, warehousing and transportation of explosives for mining. Initial reports from officials of the Minerals Commission and officers of the security agencies indicate that, the incident occurred when the truck carrying the explosives collided with a tricycle at a section of the road in Apiate, along the Bogoso – Bawdie highway. The impact of the collision resulted in a spark, which caused a chain reaction of explosions, bringing about the devastation to the town, which we have all seen. As at Monday, 24th January 2022, thirteen (13) people had been confirmed dead, with at least one hundred (100) people sustaining various degrees of injuries. The impact of the explosion also caused considerable damage to several buildings in the community, rendering many families homeless. Mr. Speaker, on the instructions and under the direct coordination of the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the security services and other organs of state, including the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana National Fire Service, the Ghana Ambulance Service, the National Disaster Management Organisation and the Minerals Commission, responded quickly to the incident, helping to save many lives and property in the process. The response of Government, indeed, was swift and robust. Again, Mr. Speaker, on the instructions of the President of the Republic, a delegation from government, led by the Vice President, H.E. Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, which included my good self, the Ministers for Interior and Information, the Inspector General of Police, officials of the Minerals Commission and other senior officers of our security services, visited the community, to assess for ourselves the impact of the explosion, and to commiserate with the victims of this horrific disaster.
The delegation received briefings from security personnel on the ground, visited the site of the explosion, as well as the injured in hospitals and displaced families. Government has decided, to pay in full, the medical bills of all those who were injured in the process. The explosion destroyed a portion of the road, making transportation to and from other communities, through Apiate, very difficult. Already, Government, through the Ministry of Roads and Highways, has commenced repair works on the road to make it motorable.Mr. Speaker, the conveyance, storage, possession, manufacture and use of explosives and substances used for the manufacturing of explosives for mining, quarrying and other civil works are governed by the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), and the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2177). The law provides strict regulations for dealing in explosives, including the appointment of competent explosive managers, who must be certified by the Minerals Commission. The packaging and marking of explosives must be in accordance with the Recommendations of the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, and the transportation must be by a vehicle approved by the Chief Inspector of Mines. The law also requires that the vehicle be in a sound working condition, with no patent defects, propelled by diesel, provided with two fire extinguishers that are readily available for use, has adequate bonding between the chassis and the body, and is fitted with two earthing chains adequately bonded to the chassis and maintained between the chassis and the ground. No other materials are to be carried in the compartment containing the explosives, and that compartment must be totally enclosed, covered with sheet metal, and lined internally with wood treated in a manner that renders it non-inflammable. The vehicle carrying the explosives must move only between the hours of 6am and 6pm, use a direct and fastest route, unless a less densely populated route is available, and not drive at more than sixty kilometres per hour (60km/h). The vehicle must be accompanied by competent persons certified by the Minerals Commission and a police escort, and shall not stop at any time of the transportation unless to avoid an accident or to comply with traffic regulations. Mr. Speaker, regulation 2 of L.I. 2177 makes the Chief Inspector of Mines the chief inspector of explosives, and is responsible for ensuring compliance with the law. Mr. Speaker, the security agencies are carrying out investigations into the matter to ascertain the actual cause of the incident, as well the events in its immediate aftermath. The Minerals Commission is also carrying out its investigations to determine whether L.I. 2177 was complied with in the packaging, loading, marking and transportation of the goods, the subject matter of this incident. To ensure fair and impartial investigations into, and, non-interference in the matter, on Friday, 21st January 2022, I, as the sector Minister, directed the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission to interdict the Chief Inspector of Mines, who, as indicated earlier, doubles as the Chief Inspector of Explosives, pending the conclusion of investigations into this matter. I further directed that the registration of Maxam Ghana Ltd with the Minerals Commission be suspended, whilst investigations are conducted into the mode of their operations. Pursuant to these directives, Mine Inspectors from the Minerals Commission, on Saturday, 23rd January 2022, closed down Maxam Ghana Ltd, and stationed two mine inspectors there to guard the facility, day and night. Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Monday, 24th January 2022, I received a preliminary draft report from the Minerals Commission. Following this report, I have since directed the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission to suspend the registration, with the Minerals Commission, of Jocyderk Logistics Ltd, the sub-contractor that was transporting the explosives. Investigations are ongoing to ensure that no breach of the regulations is allowed to go unpunished. Mr. Speaker, I expect the final report in this matter soon, and this will inform our next courses of action. Mr. Speaker, I have held separate meetings with management of Maxam Ghana Ltd, Chirano Gold Mines Limited, and the leadership of the Ghana Chamber of Mines to discuss matters pertaining to health and safety in the mining industry, and how to avoid such future occurrences. Mr. Speaker, Government has decided to establish an Apiate Support Fund, to mobilise sufficient funds from across the country, in order to, amongst others, support the victims of the incident, and reconstruct the Apiate township. This morning, on the instructions of the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, I inaugurated a five-member committee, chaired by a distinguished and eminent Ghanaian stateswoman, Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee, the founder of Salt and Light Ministries, and a former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, to manage the Fund. I have also, pursuant to section 100(1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), established a Ministerial Committee of Inquiry, chaired by the Vice Chancellor of George Paa Grant University of Mines and Technology, and a distinguished scholar in Minerals Engineering, Professor Richard Amankwah, to examine the entire health and safety regime of mining in Ghana, and make recommendations for legislative and/or policy reforms. The Committee has been given one (1) month from today to present its report. Mr. Speaker, it is imperative that, out of this calamitous event, we work to draw useful lessons and get to a stage where we can confidently say “Never Again.” Mr. Speaker, we are grateful to officials of the security agencies and the other state agencies, including the National Ambulance Service and the National Disaster Management Organisation, for their brave and patriotic work. We are told, for instance, Mr. Speaker, that the response of the National Ambulance Service, which now has an ambulance in each constituency of our country, was swift. But for their rapid response, and the help of ambulances of nearby constituencies, the situation would have been worse. We are also grateful to those individuals who volunteered to communicate to the people of the community to move away from the scene, and those who volunteered to donate blood at the various hospitals to support the injured. We pray that the God Lord replenishes everything they have lost.Let me use this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to assure this august House, that investigations into this matter will be thorough, complete, candid, fair, and will be done in accordance with the highest standards of integrity and transparency. Anyone found culpable will be made to face the full rigours of the law. Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, is also committed to implementing the necessary recommendations that will come out of these investigations. The Ministry is committed to ensuring that mining, and, indeed, mine support services, are carried out in a safe, healthy, and environmentally-sound manner, and we will not relent in our efforts to ensure that we achieve this. Mr. Speaker, I humbly say to the good people of Apiate, that the Akufo-Addo Government, the government of the people, will, without fail, offer them the necessary support, leadership, comfort, and solidarity in these difficult times. Mr. Speaker, just as Our Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples in the words of Holy Scripture, in the Gospel according to John Chapter 16 verse 22, and I quote, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” Mr. Speaker, we wish the injured healing, and may the souls of the departed rest and abide in the bosom of the Lord, until the last day of the resurrection when we shall meet again. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and the House, for your attention.HON. SAMUEL A. JINAPOR, MPMINISTER FOR LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCES