Five persons, have been found dead in a mining pit that collapsed at the Akoon Community Mining – a mining scheme of the Tarkwa Community Mining Programme, but reports are that the actual number of deaths, has been concealed.
Bodies of the deceased, have been removed and deposited at the Tarkwa Morgue, however, the company has assured that safety measures are being enhanced.
The Tarkwa Community Mining Programme, under the auspicious of the Deputy Mines Minister, George Mireku-Dukar, has been trumpeted by him as a better arrangement in addressing illegal mining with its attendant damage to the environment, especially pollution of water bodies, but this is turning out to be a fiasco.
What is interesting is that Akoon Community Mining, had in the past been tied to the Deputy Minister, who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa-Nsuaem.
Accra-based JoyNews, says its checks indicate that the incident occurred on Wednesday, September 13, but may have eluded the media.
A miner at the place where the accident occurred said, “We got to work, but felt the atmosphere had changed. No one could say anything, so we stayed around for a while. It was then that one of our people came to hint us of the extent of the accident that had happened underground and right in front of us they brought four boys who had died, and we thought that would be all but unfortunately, we heard more people were involved.”
He further clarified that the number of people confirmed dead is more than the five reported by the media outlets.
The miner disclosed, “Someone had sent a gang of 15 who were going to bring their load to the surface. But those people cannot be accounted for after the incident so, none of the people who had come there to bring their loads and the items survived meaning there could be more people underground.”
However, the General Manager of the mining company refuted the claims made by the miner.
He said that those involved in the accident set out to work in a prohibited area and unfortunately met their untimely death.
The General Manager said, “It is true that is where we have restricted workers not to go and mine. That is where some people went illegally to work. They unfortunately mined the pillar that supports the ceiling leading to it caving in on them.
“We got four persons who were injured. They were taken to Redeemer Hospital to be cared for but unfortunately, five people also lost their lives. This is the biggest fatality since we started.”
The Akoon Community Mining is a major part of the Tarkwa Community Mining Programme commissioned by President Nana Akufo-Addo in 2021.
According to available data, 4,887 people have been working directly in the mine since the programme was launched.