Maxam Ghana agrees to pay $6m but denies wrongdoing in Appiatse disaster

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, has agreed to pay the $1 million fine and the additional $5 million cost imposed by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

The Company, in a statement shared with the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, said it was deeply saddened by the incident, the deaths, injuries and the extensive damage to property suffered by the Appiatse Community.

It, however, disagreed with the findings from the Ministry’s review of the disaster, which accused Maxam of regulatory breaches in the manufacture, storage, and transportation of explosives for mining and other civil works.

“None of these breaches were the cause of the tragic road accident and all of them relate to the transport carried out by Arthaans Logistics. Based on a different interpretation of the applicable regulations, we believe that Maxam has not committed any of those breaches,” it said.

The Company said it had, however, decided to pay the fine and other costs totaling$6m to “ensure the continuity of the business, to be able to supply our customers, to protect the employment of our workers and sub-contractors.”

Fourteen people were killed, with more than 170 injured and hundreds displaced in the explosion which occurred at the Appiatse section of the Bogoso-Kumasi Highway on Thursday, January 20, 2022.

Investigations are ongoing to establish the cause of the disaster, which occurred when a truck carrying explosive materials from the Maxam Ghana Limited at Tarkwa in the Western Region to the Chirano Gold Mines Limited site in the Western North Region exploded.

After the explosion, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, commissioned a three-member committee to probe whether the transporters of the said explosives complied with regulatory requirements among other safety measures.

A statement dated February 7, 2022, signed by Mr Jinapor said the Committee found some regulatory breaches on the part of Maxam in the manufacture, storage, and transportation of explosives for mining and other civil works.

The statement asked the Company to pay $1 million for the restoration of its license and additional $5 million in equal instalments between March 1, 2022, and August 2023.

It said the Ministry, in addition to the fine, had set out 14 conditions to be met by the Company before the restoration of its 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 are that explosives be guarded by two escort vehicles, one in front and another at the back; with both vehicles having sirens to warn people.

Source: GNA

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