The government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, has inaugurated a five-member committee of inquiry to review health and safety standards in the mining industry of the county.
At a ceremony to inaugurate the committee yesterday, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, said it forms part of the many measures to forestall any future incidents like that of Apeate. It is also to ensure the safety of workers of mining companies, mining support services, as well as the general public.
The Minister said although the Apeate explosion was an unfortunate incident, it had provided an opportunity to examine the entire health and safety regime of the industry.
“Whilst we take action on all of issues with regard to the explosion, it will be completely remiss on our part to concentrate solely on the Apeate incident, to the neglect of other health and safety issues in the entire mining industry,” he stressed.
He noted that, given the technicality and expertise of the task assigned, government had decided that the committee will be chaired by the Vice-Chancellor the George Grant University of Mines and Technology, Professor Richard Amankwah.
He gave the committee one month to submit a report of their findings, urging them to co-opt or form sub-committees, where necessary, to deliver on the task.
Mr Jinapor 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 had received from the Minerals Commission and the three-member committee constituted to undertake independent investigations into the Apeate explosion.
The Chairperson of the committee, Prof. Amankwah, on behalf of the team, expressed his profound gratitude to government and the Minister for the confidence reposed in them.
“We take hold of it and we pray to do a good job. Very soon, the incident of Apeate will not only be about disaster but also about reforms to change the dynamics of the health and safety standards of the mining industry,” he said.
He added that the committee would do broad consultations, both in and outside the country, and make a conscious effort to develop a document that will stand the test of time.
He also stressed that “it will help the nation to work well regarding health and safety standards, as well as be of support to the mining industry”.
The other committee members include Prof. Grace Ofori Sarpong, a representative from the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences; Ms. Effie Oppong-Fosu, 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.