Newmont Ghana Gold Limited and its engineering agent DRA Ghana Limited have been fined $2.7 million following an accident that killed six workers on site in April this year.
According to an investigative report, DRA Limited will be sanctioned for operating at the Ahafo site without Mining Services Operation Permit which is a breach of a mining regulation.
As part of the punitive measures, the company will for each day that it “had operated without the Mining Services Operating Permit, pay an additional fine of $200.”
“Newmont Ghana Gold Limited for failure to ensure the safety of contractor employees working at the Ahafo Mine Site shall pay the fatally wounded and the injured employees the appropriate workmen compensation,” the report said.
These were part of recommendations by a committee tasked by the Lands and Natural Resource Ministry, John Peter Amewu to investigate circumstances that led to the disaster.
On April 7, this year, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited reported an accident at its Ahafo Mine, which resulted in multiple fatalities. Six people died and four other workers of contracted company Consar Limited sustained various degrees of injuries.
Consar is a contractor working under the supervision of DRA Ghana Limited, an Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Management agent of Newmont constructing a Reclaim Tunnel as part of the Ahafo Mill Expansion (AME) Project.
The employees were reportedly involved in pouring a mixture of concrete at the Reclaim Tunnel when the two-level formwork structure at the west end of the tunnel failed.
Consequently, the Lands Minister led a team of his ministry and Mineral Commission officials to visit the accident site at the Ahafo mine in order to ascertain on firsthand the cause and the circumstances leading to the accident.
Mr Amewu immediately instituted a committee to investigate to find out the cause(s) leading to the fatal injury as well as whether there were standard operating procedures complied with.
Also, the committee was tasked to find out whether any negligence or omission was occasioned if there were lapses leading to the accident as well as to find out the occurrence of any operational challenges leading to the accident.
Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu
Again, they were to institute corrective and preventive measures to obviate any future occurrence of the incident as well as to effect appropriate sanctions if any.
The investigations which took almost five weeks came up with several findings which bordered on design, operational and managerial failures leading to the fatalities and casualties.
The committee presented its report to the Land Minister on May 18 with 32 recommendations based on its findings.
Some of the recommendations include;
- DRA Ghana Limited shall be fined US$10,000 for operating at the Ahafo site without Mining Services Operation Permit (breach of Regulation 8(4 and 5) LI 2182 of 2012) and for each day that the Company had operated without the Mining Services Operating Permit, an additional fine of US$200 shall be imposed.
- Newmont Ghana Gold Limited for failure to ensure the safety of contractor employees working at the Ahafo Mine Site shall pay the fatally wounded and the injured employees the appropriate workmen compensation. In addition, the fatally wounded employees should be compensated for their traumatic death, loss of their life and jettisoning of their livelihood.
- NGGL shall immediately review its organizational structure to be consistent with operational responsibilities of the statutorily appointed managers to remedy the breach of the requirements under Regulation 35, LI. 2182 of 2012. For this breach, NGGL shall be fined US$10,000.
Also, for their contribution in the accident the Ministry further directed DRA Ghana to pay an additional fine of $2 million, Newmont Ghana is to pay an additional fine of $500,000 and Consar Ghana Limited is to pay an additional $200,000.