The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has given the assurance that the government will bring the Apeate explosion report to the full glare of the public.
He added that the government is ready to publish the full report on the disaster, if need be, for the purpose of transparency and equity.
Mr Abu Jinapor gave the assurance on the floor of Parliament in response to an urgent question on the findings and recommendations from the Apeate disaster reports, and whether the report can be made public.
According to the Minister, it will be more useful to rather publish the report of the Health and Safety Committee of Inquiry, which has a broader mandate and whose recommendations are geared towards reformation of the mining sector.
Nothing to hide
He said even though the government has nothing to hide, the two earlier reports will be of no use to the public because they are technical reports generally covering the mining sector in the country.
He explained that following the disaster on January 20, 2022, in which a truck transporting explosive materials exploded at Apeate, the Minerals Commission, as the regulator, conducted its investigations in accordance with the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2177), and submitted its report to the sector ministry.
“Given the complexity of the matter, I constituted a three-member committee, chaired by a highly respected 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, I received the Report of the three-member Committee. Mr. Speaker, the two reports established certain regulatory breaches on the part of Maxam in the manufacture, storage, and/or transportation of explosives,” he said.
The Minister said key among the breaches unearthed by the investigations included failure to ensure that the transportation of explosives was managed by a certified explosives manager, contrary to regulation 6(2)(a) of Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2177).
“Maxam also failed to ensure that activities that involve explosives are carried out only by competent and certified persons, contrary to Regulation 6(2)(b) of L.I. 2177; and also failed to ensure that the code of safe working practice developed for the transportation of explosives is followed, contrary to Regulation 11(1) of the L.I. 2177 among others,” the Minister stated.
The committee, he said, recommended, among others, that Maxam be sanctioned. It also recommended that the transportation of explosives should be made safer by the installation of fire suppression systems in explosive vehicles.
The Minister said the committee also recommended the use of two escort vehicles, one in front and one behind, the use of two police officers, one armed and other unarmed, the use of sirens to alert road users, and a review of the entire health and safety regime of the mining industry.
A Health and Safety Committee of Inquiry, he said, was established to review the entire health and safety regime of the mining industry, and make recommendations to the government for legislative, policy and other reforms.
He further disclosed that the committee would be submitting its report to the Ministry soon, assuring that the necessary recommendations would be implemented to make the industry safer and better.
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