Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) operating within the Ahafo Mine catchment area of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) on Wednesday condemned the disaster that occurred at the company’s plant site recently, killing six people and injuring four others.
The CSOs attributed the incident to negligence on the part of the mining company, and called on the government and her relevant institutions to ensure that adequate compensation packages were paid to the families and relatives of the deceased persons.
Kwadwo Asare, Gideon Amankwaah, Kwadwo Bismark, Ben Brako, Adjei Wale and Ebenezer Sarfo, were trapped to death, when the reclaim tunnel roof of the Newmont Ahafo Mine Expansion Project collapsed last Saturday at Kenyasi in the Asutifi North District of Brong-Ahafo Region.
The six were workers of Consar Company Limited, a sub-contracting company under the multinational mining company.
At a news conference in Sunyani, the CSOs called on the government to ratify the International Labour Organisation Convention 176 on Health and Safety in Mines and ensure full compliance by mining companies in the country.
Mr. Richard Adjei-Poku, the Executive Director of Livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG), the spokesman for the CSOs, said it was not the first time that such an incident had happened in the area, saying in October 2005, one Kofi Agyekum and Yaw Frimpong were drowned in the company’s water storage facility.
He, however, appealed to the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, Minerals Commission and other regulatory bodies to set up an independent committee to investigate the incident thoroughly and called on mining companies to stop subletting contracts to sub-contractors who often cause most of these incidents.
Meanwhile, the Mine has extended its condolences and support to the bereaved families, and pledged to continue to cooperate with the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission in their investigation into the accident.
The company in a statement signed by Mr Agbeko Kwame Azumah, the Manager, Communications and External Relations, said the company had temporarily suspended production at both Ahafo and Akyem Mines, following the accident, but “operations at both mines have resumed following extensive safety discussions and risk assessments”.
It added that the “Ahafo Mill Expansion project and all surface civil construction work will remain suspended until Newmont and the authorities are satisfied that work can resume safely”.
Newmont is providing support and counselling services to the families, Consar employees, as well as its employees and it will provide updates as new information becomes available, the statement added.