Appiatse disaster: Gov’t introduces measures to regulate movement of explosives

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The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has outlined some 14 measures government has put in place to regulate the movement of explosives to mining areas.

The introduction of the measures follows the release of a report a three member committee set up by the Minister to investigate the circumstances that led to the tragic incident that happened at Appiatse in the Huni-Valley Municipality of the Western Region.

The explosion which occurred on January 20, 2022 claimed 13 lives, left some 59 victims in critical conditions while several others sustained varied degrees of injuries.

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Appiatse community has also become uninhabitable.

Examining the magnitude of damage, the Minister said the measures put in place are to ensure that mining and mine support services are “conducted in safe and healthy environment that poses no danger to lives and/or property” henceforth.

Meanwhile, Maxam Ghana Limited which was transporting the explosives to a mining site have been fined some US$6 million for breach of LI.2177 of the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 regarding the manufacture, storage, transportation and or supply of explosives.

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Below are the measures put in place by the minister:

  1. Maxam shall not transport explosives on a public road, unless notice of the transportation has been given to the Chief Inspector if Mines or the Regional Mines Inspector, at least, forty-eight (48) hours before the scheduled time for transportation, to enable the requisite inspection and certification to be carried out before the transportation of the explosives to a mine or a quarry site.
  2. An Inspector of Mines shall be present, inspect, verify and record in the designated explosives log book for transportation, that all the requisite safety requirements, rules and protocols have been met before explosives are transported from the operational site of the company to a mine or quarry site.
  3. An inspector of mine/explosives shall physical inspect the explosives truck to ensure that the explosives truck is in good working condition, in accordance with the truck examination list, and that the truck driver has a professional driver’s license to drive the vehicle before the loading of the explosives into the truck.
  4. All trucks used by the company in carting explosives shall have: A red flashing light clearly visible at least hundred meters away; A klaxon or siren, hooter or automatically operated bell; An automatic fire suppression system alongside the fire extinguishers; A tracking system to monitor the speed and movement if the explosive truck; An integrated monitoring system to check driver fatigue; A megaphone to warn people or bystanders in case of danger; and Drive cameras to monitor the explosives’ truck drivers.
  5. Before each explosives truck takes off from the operational site of the company, the waybill for the transportation shall be endorsed by an Inspector of Mines/Explosives who shall be satisfied that the explosives are under the direct control of a person who has a certificate of competence, in accordance with regulation 15 (2) of LI.2177.
  6. All trucks transporting explosives must be accompanied by escort vehicles which shall be inspected by and Inspector of Mines, and all the details recorded in the Inspectors’ Field Book.
  7. Escort vehicles must have:
    • a red flashing light clearly visible at least 50 meters away
    • a klaxon or siren or hooter or automatically operated bell.
  8. The transportation of explosives on public roads shall have two escorts: 1 leading the explosive track and maintaining a distance of at least fifty meters and at most 60 meters from the vehicle carrying the explosives, with a uniformed and armed Police Officer, and the other behind the explosives truck and maintaining a distance of at least twenty meters (20) and at most 30 meters, with an unarmed but uniformed Police Officer.
  9. Competent persons accompanying explosives trucks shall notify the Regional Inspector of Mines in the Region upon arriving at their destinations and indicated the arrival times in a designated log book for that purpose.
  10. The company shall not, unless otherwise expressly permitted by the chief Inspector if Explosives, transport Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil on a public road to a mine or civil work site.
  11. A person who drives an escort vehicle shall not drive faster than 60 kilometres per hour.
  12. Competent persons accompanying explosives shall be trained in the Code of Safe Working Practice Code of Safe Operating Procedure) for transportation of Explosives along Public Roads and shall carry the code with them.
  13. The explosives Manager shall develop the Code of Safe Working Practice and the code shall be approved by an Inspector (Regulations 515 of LI 2182 and Regulations 11 of L.I 2177).
  14. The transportation of Ammonium Nitrate from or to the operational site of a registered mine support service company with the requisite permits or to a mine site shall be regulated by L.I 2177.

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