The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, on Monday February 7, 2022, inaugurated a five-member Ministerial Committee of Inquiry, chaired by a distinguished Minerals Engineer and Vice Chancellor of the Paa Grant University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa (UmaT), Prof. Richard Amankwah, to review the health and safety regime of the mining industry.
The other members of the Committee are Prof. Grace Ofori-Sarpong, a professor of minerals engineering, and Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies at Paa Grant University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, representing the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences; Ms. Effie Oppong-Fosu, an Associate of Menka-Premo and Co. Law Firm, with specialisation in mining and energy law, representing the Ghana Bar Association, Mr. Benjamin Aryee, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, and Mr. Kwesi Enyan, a former inspector of mines, and a former Managing Director of AngloGold Ashanti.
The setting up of the Committee became necessary following the Appiatse explosion incident which claimed thirteen (13) lives and destroyed the entire Appiatse community.
Speaking at the inauguration, the Minister said unfortunate though the incident was, it should serve as a wake up call for us to take proactive measures to prevent such disasters.
He referred to similar actions taken by the United States following the BP oil spill in 2010 and South Africa, after the Vaal Reefs disaster in 1995.
Mr. Jinapor also noted that the Appiatse incident is not an isolated one in the mining industry.
He indicated that in the course of this week, the Ministry will be updating the nation on some of the consequential actions following the report of the investigation.
He, however, referred to various cave-ins of mining pits in Ayanfuri and Breman, both in the Upper Denkyira West District of the Central Region, and the recent one in AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi Mine last year. He stressed that “We cannot continue to treat these as isolated incidents. We must take a holistic approach to dealing with the health and safety issues in the mining sector.”
The, Committee is, therefore, not to look at the Appiatse incident or explosives only, but the entire health and safety regime of the mining industry.
Their terms of reference are to undertake a general review of the health and safety regime in the mining industry; to review the existing laws, regulations, and guidelines on health and safety standards in the mining industry; to inquire into any matter relating to health and safety in the mining industry; and to make recommendations to Government for legislative, policy, and other reforms it may deem fit.
The Minister gave the Committee one (1) month to present their report. He said the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is committed to making Ghana the mining hub of Africa, and this requires a safe and healthy environment for mining.
Responding to the Minister, the Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Amankwah, thanked the Minister for the confidence reposed in them.
He expressed worry about the Appiatse incident and the other incidents the Minister referred to. Prof Amakaw said “out of this disaster must be the opportunity, as is the case in other countries to come up with extensive and far reaching results”.
He promised that the Committee will work diligently to support Government’s vision to create a safe and healthy environment for mining.