The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor, has called on Parliament to consider formulating a law which will require mining explosives to be manufactured near mining centres.
He said this in response to the deadly explosion incident which occurred at Appiatse near Bogoso in the Prestea Huni municipality in the Western Region, last Thursday, involving the transportation of dynamites to a mining site.
So far, thirteen (13) people were killed with many others injured and displaced.
Mr. Jinapor, who is also the MP for Damongo in the Savannah Region, said this when he presented a statement on the floor of Parliament last Monday on the tragic incident.
He added that Parliament should take a second look at the Legislative Instrument (L.I) Regulations 33 to consider the use of new technologies in the transportation of explosive materials to mining sites.
Mr. Jinapor also said intensive sensitisation should be done to educate people on how to respond to accidents because most people tend to draw close to accident scenes to try and take pictures and videos at the expense of their own safety.
Mr Jinapor said the government also took proactive steps to address the situation and had set up a fund to help cater for the victims and those who might have lost their livelihoods as a result of the tragedy.
“The response of government was swift and robust and again a delegation from the government, led by the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, visited the community to assess the impact of the explosion and offer the necessary help to lessen the plight of the people,” he stated.
He told Parliament that the government would also pay the medical bills of the injured in full.
The minister said as part of measures to forestall the reoccurrence of such an incident, he had directed the interdiction of the Chief Inspector of Mines, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigations into the tragic event that took place at Appiatse.
He said the ministry had also directed that the registration of Maxam Company Limited should be suspended from the manufacture, transportation, and supply of explosives for mining operations, pending the outcome of investigations.
He gave an assurance that the report on the investigation would be made public and any public official found culpable would be made to face the full rigours of the law.
The MP for Wa Central, Mr Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, in his contributions to the disaster, commended the government for the swift response.
He, however, urged the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to go an extra length to put in place measures to ensure incidents like the Appiate explosion were kept to the barest minimum.
He added that the ministry and the government should aid the people affected by the incident in ways to give them solace so they could keep up with life.
“They should not be allowed to sleep outside for a long time,” he said.
He also said the police ought to act quickly to secure accident scenes to deter people from getting close to such sites.
For his part, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, who is also the MP for Sefwi Wiawso, bemoaned the attitude of some Ghanaians who rushed to accident and disaster scenes to take pictures and videos, adding that this attitude and lifestyle should be discouraged.
The MP for Yapei Kusawgu, Mr ohn Abdulai Jinapor for his part called for a well-coordinated approach to resettle the displaced persons and called on the government to make the report after the investigations on the incident public.