The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, says his ministry, through the Minerals Commission, has started earnest investigations into the Apeate explosion.
He warns that individuals culpable to have breached any aspect of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) and the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L.1.2177) would be dealt with.
He made this known while briefing Parliament on Tuesday on the aftermath of the Apeate explosion disaster and the measures government had put in place to restore the affected community.
“Mr. Speaker, investigations into this matter will be thorough, complete, candid, fair, and with the highest standards of integrity and transparency. Anyone found culpable will be made to face the full rigours of the law,” he stated.
Mr Jinapor added that “the Ministry [of Lands and Natural Resources] 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 that”.
He disclosed that preliminary investigations into the matter had established that Maxam Ghana Limited, the company at the centre stage of the transportation of the mining explosives, had sub-contracted the transportation of the explosives to Jocyderk Logistics Limited.
The Minister said initial reports from the Minerals Commission as well 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 Apeati, 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 January 24, 2022, thirteen (13) people had been confirmed dead, with at least one hundred (100) people sustaining various degrees of injuries,” he stated.
He further revealed that the impact of the explosion also caused considerable damage to several buildings in the community, rendering many families homeless.
He added that the explosion destroyed a portion of the road, making transportation to and from other communities, through Apeate, difficult.
However, he said Government, through the Ministry of Roads and Highways, had commenced repair works on the road to make it motorable.
Mr Jinapor told Parliament about some of the preliminary investigations and actions taken into the matter so far.
He said his outfit, through a directive to the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, had interdicted the Chief Inspector of Mines, who doubles as the Chief Inspector of Explosives, pending the conclusion of investigations into the explosion disaster.
He has also, through a directive to the Mineral Commission, suspended the registration of Maxam Ghana Limited, whilst investigations are being conducted into the mode of their operations.
Pursuant to these directives, the Mine Inspectors from the Minerals Commission, on Saturday, January 23, 2022, closed down Maxam Ghana Limited, and stationed two mine inspectors there to guard the facility all day.
Meanwhile, he has directed the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission to suspend the registration of Jocyderk Logistics Limited, the sub-contractor that was transporting the explosives, after receiving the report of the preliminary investigations conducted into the matter.
“Investigations are ongoing to ensure that no breach of the regulations is allowed to go unpunished,” he stressed.