Civil Society Organizations working within the Ahafo Mine catchment area of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) are calling on government to ensure that adequate compensation packages are paid to the families and relatives of the deceased persons.
While condemning the disaster that occurred at the Company’s plant site recently, killing six people and injuring four others, the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), attributed the incident to negligence on the part of the mining company.
Kwadwo Asare, Gideon Amankwaah, Kwadwo Bismark, Ben Brako, Adjei Wale and Ebenezer Sarfo, were trapped to death, when the reclaim tunnel roof of the Newmont Ahafo Mine Expansion Project collapsed recently at Kenyasi in the Asutifi North District of Brong-Ahafo Region.
The six were workers of Consar Company Limited, a sub-contracting company under the multinational mining company.
At a media confab in Sunyani recently, the CSOs called on the government to ratify the International Labour Organisation Convention 176 on Health and Safety in Mines and ensure full compliance by mining companies in the country.
Mr. Richard Adjei-Poku, the Executive Director of Livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG), the spokesman for the CSOs, said it was not the first time that such an incident had happened in the area, saying in October 2005, one Kofi Agyekum and Yaw Frimpong were drowned in the company’s water storage facility.
He, however, appealed to the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, Minerals Commission and other regulatory bodies to set up an independent committee to investigate the incident thoroughly and called on mining companies to stop subletting contracts to sub-contractors who often cause most of these incidents.
The Regional Senior Vice President of Newmont’s Africa Operations, Alwyn Pretorius, commenting on the accident recently said, “the entire Newmont family is devastated by this tragic accident and our priority is to provide support to the families, friends and co-workers of the deceased.”
Newmont is currently providing support and counselling services to the families, Consar employees, as well as its employees while and pledging to continue to cooperate with the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission in their investigation into the accident.
Meanwhile the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu has hinted the Ministry expects the investigatory report into the circumstances leading to the accident to be ready by the end of last week.
Speaking in an interview with Starr News Mr. Amewu said the committee had done a yeoman’s job thus far and “I’m sure by this week we should be getting the report and we will definitely act on the report.”