Mr. Nii Osah Mills, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has appealed to mining companies to pay more attention to their workers to reduce fatalities and serious injuries resulting from mining operations.
He said the government was concerned about the health and safety of mine workers and mining companies must put in place sufficient safety measures to forestall fatalities and injuries to their workers.
Mr. Mills, who was speaking at this year’s National Mines First Aid and Safety Competition at Tarkwa, said mining operations were not worth undertaking if there were no guarantees on health and safety.
The competition, which has been in existence since 1985, was hosted by AngloGold Ashanti, Iduapriem Mine, under the theme “If it is not safe, don?t do it”.
Mr. Mills said for reasons of safety and health, the law required mining companies to have their environmental assessment and operations plans approved before commencing operations.
He said illegal mining activities were a worry to the government and mining companies and the government had increased its interventions to check illegal mining.
Mr. Mills said the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission would be strengthened to play its statutory roles to ensure health and safety at the mines and clamp down on illegal mining activities.
In an address read for him Dr. Sulemanu Koney, the acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said the mining industry had chalked commendable success in reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries at the various places of work.
He said fatality cases recorded at the various mine sites dropped by 47% while cases of serious injuries saw a decrease of 38%.
First Aid cases also fell considerably from 353 to 321 between 2012 and 2013.
Dr Koney said the Chamber of Mines was committed to providing a safe, congenial and a healthy working environment for their employees, community members and all stakeholders
He said the Chamber had donated medical equipment valued at 100,000 Ghana cedis to the Ghana Health Service to support the nation’s Ebola Emergency Response Plan.
Dr. Koney said mining companies operating within the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality are liaising with the Municipal Assembly and all relevant stakeholders to pull resources together for the construction of a world class isolation unit for the Ebola.
Awards were given to mining companies for their roles played in promoting a successful health and safety culture.
The overall best mine award for occupational health and safety went to the Ahafo Mine of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited and AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Mining Community won the best community category award.