An Accra High Court has ordered AngloGold Ashanti to pay GH₵9 million to the family of one of their employees who drowned in its Adansi underground mine at Obuasi in October 2015.
The court said AngloGold miscalculated the water level and the failed to ensure constant reliable communication between the winding engine driver and the rest of its team leading to the incident.
The court upheld that the accident could have been avoided if AngloGold had employed industry standard practices adding that the mining giant’s conduct in the matter betrayed its much-touted world-class safety standards.
The deceased, George Emil Baffuor died a month to the expiration of his contract when he was submerged in water at the flooded mine whilst carrying out some feasibility studies in a conveyance machine at the Adansi mine of AngloGold Ashanti.
Efforts by the team to get the conveyance out of the water on time failed because the team lost communication with the driver of the winding engine.
It later emerged that AngloGold miscalculated the level of water by 75 feet, a situation that led to the conveyance machine being submerged leading to the eventual death of George Baffour.
The plaintiffs argued that the deceased lost his life due to the gross negligence of the multinational mining giant.
They claimed that on October 22, 2015, the deceased was selected as part of a team of AngloGold Ashanti Ghana and Randgold Resources Limited that had entered into investment agreement to redevelop the Obuasi Mine and to go underground in a conveyor attached to Anglogold’s Adansi Underground Mine at Obuasi.
According to the plaintiffs, Anglogold officials telephoned Joyce Baffour, wife of the deceased at about 11:00 am on October 22, 2015 to inform her that her husband had been involved in a fatal accident in the underground mine.
The plaintiffs claimed that it took about seven hours before the deceased lifeless body was retrieved and deposited at Anglogold Ashanti Hospital morgue.
They averred that a police and an autopsy report later revealed that the engineer died when their conveyor submerged, and the autopsy report identified the cause of death as “asphyxia” due to drowning.
According to the plaintiffs, the engineer died “by reason of the negligence and/or breach of duty on the part of the defendant, its servants, agents and assigns.”