The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has stated that the government is ready to publish reports on the Apiate disaster if need be.
According to him, it will, however, be more useful to publish the report from the Health and Safety Committee of Inquiry, which has a broader mandate and whose recommendations are geared towards reformation of the mining sector.
The government, he said, has nothing to hide and indicated that the two earlier reports will be of no use to the public because they are technical reports generally covering the mining sector in the country.
Mr Jinapor gave the assurance in response to an urgent question on what the findings and recommendations of the Apiate disaster reports are and whether the reports can be made public or not.
He said following the disaster of 20th January, 2022, when the truck transporting explosive materials exploded at Apiate, the Minerals Commission as the regulator, conducted its investigations in accordance with the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2177), and submitted its report to the Ministry.
“Given the complexity of the matter, I constituted a three-member committee, chaired by a highly respected former Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Mr. Benjamin Aryee, to carry out independent investigations to corroborate, or otherwise, the findings of the Minerals Commission.
“On Tuesday, February 1, 2022, I received the report of the three-member committee. Mr. Speaker, the two reports established certain regulatory breaches on the part of Maxam in the manufacture, storage, and/or transportation of explosives,” he said.
According to Mr. Jinapor, key among the breaches unearthed by the investigations were failure to ensure the transportation of explosives was managed by a certified explosives manager, contrary to regulation 6(2)(a) of Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2177).
Maxam, he said, also failed to ensure that activities that involve explosives are carried out only by competent and certified persons, contrary to regulation 6(2)(b) of L.I. 2177; and also failed to ensure that the code of safe working practice developed for the transportation of explosives is followed, contrary to regulation 11(1) of the L.I. 2177 among others.
The Committee, he said, recommended among others that Maxam be sanctioned and also recommended the transportation of explosives be made safer by the installation of fire suppression systems in explosive vehicles, the use of two escort vehicles, one in front and one behind, the use of two police officers, one-armed and other unarmed, the use of sirens to alert road users, and a review of the entire health and safety regime of the mining industry.
A Health and Safety Committee of Inquiry, he said, has been established to review the entire health and safety regime of the mining industry, and make recommendations to Government, for legislative policy and other reforms.
The Committee, he said, will be submitting its report to the Ministry soon and the necessary recommendations will be implemented to make the industry safer and better.