The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A Jinapor, MP, on Monday, 7th February 2022, imposed a fine of Six Million United States Dollars (USD6, 000,000.00) on Maxam Ghana Limited, the company at the centre of the explosion that occurred at Appiatse in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality of the Western Region, which killed some thirteen (13) people and razed the entire community down.
According to a Press Statement issued by the Minister, the Six Million is made up of One Million Dollars fine and Five Million Dollars which the company agreed with the Ministry, after extensive discussions, to pay to Government. The statement said the fine was imposed after the Report of the three-member Committee constituted by the Minister to undertake independent investigations into the matter affirmed some regulatory breaches on the part of the company, in the manufacture, storage and transportation of explosives for mining and other civil works.
Although the penalties for the said breaches, pursuant to L.I. 2177, ranges between Six Hundred Ghana Cedis (GHS600.00) to Ten Thousand United States Dollars (USD10,000), the Statement said the Minister imposed the hefty fine due to the nature and the totality of the circumstance leading to this tragic incident.
The Minister has also set out fourteen (14) conditions to be met by the company before the restoration of their operating permit. The measures include a ban on the transportation of Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil (ANFO) on a public road to a mine or civil work site unless expressly permitted by the Chief Inspector of Mines. Other measures include explosives being guarded by two escort vehicles, one in front and one at the back, both having sirens to warn people about the explosives. The company is to notify the Chief Inspector of Mines of their intention to transport explosives, forty-eight (48) hours before the scheduled transportation, and mine inspectors are to inspect every transportation to ensure that all regulations and protocols are complied with.
The Minister said the fourteen (14) measures are to apply, fully, to all companies involved in the manufacture, supply, transportation, and use of explosives. The Statement also says sanctions against Jocyderk Logistics Limited and Arthanns Enterprise and Transport Services, two entities involved in the Appiatse tragic incident are being reviewed and will be applied and communicated in due course.
The statement explained that the Ministry is putting in place the necessary measures to ensure that mining and mine support services, are conducted in a safe and healthy environment that poses no danger to life or property.