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Shaanxi mine explosion: Enforcement issues killing citizens-Former Minerals Commission boss

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
shaanxi_mine
Dr Toni Aubynn

The former boss of the Minerals Commission has said the continues deaths recorded at Shaanxi mine in Talensi in the Upper East Region is as a result for disregard for lay down procedures.

Dr Toni Aubynn said enforcement issues have largely contributed to the deaths in the mining area, the necessary steps are not always followed to the core during mining operations.

Sixteen individuals have been confirmed dead and others injured on Wednesday after an explosion occurred within the mining concession of a Chinese company, Shaanxi Mining Ltd.

The recent deaths at the Shaanxi mines followed earlier recorded deaths in previous years[7 deaths in April 2017, 1 in 2018 and 2016, 2 in 2015].

Reacting to the recent deaths, Dr Toni Aubynn said the blasting which ended up choking to death the miners in the pit is part of mining activities which is carried out under certain circumstances.

On enforcement of the regulations that cover the operations on the mines, he said information available to him indicates that the mine has duly informed the community members about the blast as per regulations but he cannot tell whether or not the public announcement was properly done.

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According to him, poverty and the need for survival forced some small miners to dig pits in their houses which are connected to that of bigger companies to be able to pick up loose mineral anytime the mines blast their concession which ends up killing them.

DCE for Talensi, Dr Christopher Boatbil who confirmed the deaths of the individuals said powerful billows of smoke choked them to death.

He added that his visit to the Upper East Regional Hospital where the victims were sent revealed that 16 persons were pronounced dead.

The Regional Security Council has begun investigations to ascertain circumstances surrounding the blast leading to the death of the individuals.

One Kwesi Bantama has also been identified as a possible cause to the blast because he is a known illegal miner in the area with a pit rout in his house.

The Minerals Commissions has temporarily shut down the operations of Shaanxi mines pending the outcome of the investigations.

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