Story: News Desk
The Minerals Commission has revealed that the quarry in Anto-Aboso at Shama, Western Region, which experienced a devastating explosion on Sunday, was operating without proper authorization.
The Commission’s mine inspectors had noticed that the company was conducting nighttime operations, presumably to avoid detection by Commission inspectors and the local task force, which included police and members of the Sand Winners and Quarry Association.
During a routine monitoring visit by inspectors from the Takoradi Office of the Commission, it was revealed that the company was engaged in site cleaning and preparatory work and had operated machinery and equipment on-site without obtaining the Commission’s approval.
In an official statement, the Commission confirmed that their preliminary investigations confirmed that the site of the explosion was the subject of an application by a company named STA Addsams Enterprise.
Five people died in the tragic explosion with many others sustaining injuries. Among the casualties were night workers, believed to be of both Chinese and Ghanaian nationality, with some suffering severe burns.
The managing director (MD) of the company remains unaccounted for.
Survivors of the explosion were swiftly transported to various hospitals in the district and Sekondi for medical treatment. The blast also caused extensive damage to numerous structures in the vicinity, including a fuel station and the sole health post in the area, significantly compromising the structural integrity of several buildings.
This incident marks the second explosion to strike the Western Region in less than two years, following a similar tragic event that occurred in Appeatse in January the previous year.
Below is the full statement by the Minerals Commission
RE: EXPLOSION AT A QUARRY SITE IN ASSORKO IN THE SHAMA DISTRICT OF THE WESTERN REGION
The Western Regional Head of the Minerals Commission at Takoradi (the “Commission”) was notified by the Assemblyman of the Anto-Abosso area in the Shama District at about 11.50pm on 9th September 2023, regarding an explosion at a quarry site.
A team of Mine Inspectors from the Takoradi Office of the Commission arrived at the site of the explosion at about 6.45 am on 10th September 2023. The area of the explosion is about 1.5 km away from the nearest settlement, Kobenandohkrom.
The inspectors were joined by officials from other State institutions comprising NADMO, Environmental Protection Agency, The Ghana Fire Service, Ambulance Service, the Ghana Police Service and officials from the Shama District Assembly to inspect the site.
The Commission, after the preliminary investigations, can confirm that the site of the explosion is the subject of an application by a company with the name Sta Addsams Enterprise. The company has applied for a Restricted Mining Lease for granite commonly referred to as a quarry. The recommendation for the company to be considered for the grant of a formal lease was granted on 20th March 2023. At the time of the explosion, the company has not issued a lease by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.
Secondly, the site of the explosion is the residential facilities for the company. This included buildings and containerized structures. The inspectors also found at the site, empty drums believed to have contained diesel, other lubricants, cigarette pieces, oxy-acetylene cylinders were found at the scene.
Additionally, all the facilities including light vehicles and equipment close to the residential structures on site were destroyed and five (5) persons are confirmed dead and some injured persons were sent to various hospitals within Sekondi-Takoradi for treatment.
The administrator of the enterprise informed the inspectors that the company was working at night ostensibly to prevent them from being noticed by the inspectors of the Commission and the local task force comprising the police and members of the sand winners and quarry Association.
A routine monitoring visit by the inspectors from the Takoradi Office to the site revealed that the enterprise was engaged in site cleaning and preparatory works and had conducted run of the machines and equipment on site without the approval of the Commission.
The enterprise was therefore notified by the inspectors that such activities are illegal and was directed to cease any activity on the site until the lease is granted and all other permits and approvals for the storage, transportation and use of any substance to undertake operations are obtained.
In this regard, pending the completion of a full investigation into the cause of the explosion, the enterprise had no lease, approval or permit to undertake any activity or operation at the site.
Consequently, the activity of the enterprise was illegal. The Commission wishes to remind the media and the public that the Inspectorate Division is committed to ensuring that all quarry sites are licensed and all the requisite approvals and permits are obtained before operations are undertaken.