The Minerals Commission has said a team of technical mines-experts has been commissioned to embark on an immediate investigation into the Newmont Ahafo mine accident that occurred over the weekend.
An official at the Commission in a telephone interview with B&FT said the investigation will be a purely technical accident investigation, after which the report when completed will be handed over to the minister for decision-making.
“Once the accident area is secured and protected, the investigation will be immediate so that evidence doesn’t get out of hand. Our guys even got there on the Saturday night; they were there until the last person was removed on Sunday, so they have been there since. The place has been secured,” the official said.
A statement from Newmont Ahafo copied to the B&FT said: “Newmont Ghana is deeply saddened to report a fatal accident on 7 April, following the collapse of the reclaim tunnel roof at its Ahafo Mill Expansion project. Relevant authorities have been notified and the company is cooperating with the police in their investigations”.
The statement explained that six fatalities have been confirmed. Two others were treated at the clinic and discharged. The workers were all contractor-employees with Consar Limited, a construction services company.
Mr. Alwyn Pretorius, Regional Senior Vice President of Newmont’s Africa Operations, indicated that: “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”.
Operations have been suspended and Newmont Ghana is notifying families of the deceased. All other employees working in the area have been safely relocated and accident-site has been secured. The police are on site and the appropriate government and regulatory agencies have been notified, including the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission.
Meanwhile, B&FT has gathered that Newmont has temporarily shut down all its mining operation sites in the country, due to the fatal accident at its Ahafo Mine site.
The mining firm is expected to resume operations after investigations are concluded.
“In terms of restart, we will not restart…until we ensure that all areas have been re-assessed,” Acting General Manager at the Ahafo Mines, Yaw Okyere Ntroso said.
“Our sister-company in Akyem has also stopped operation in solidarity with us, until we resume when the place is safe,” he stated.
The development could have some serious implications on the company going forward – in terms of impact on its revenue, looking at the volume of gold ounces produced in a day.
Newmont, which commenced operation in Ghana in 2006 currently, operates two main mining sites at Akyem and Ahafo in the Eastern and Brong Ahafo Regions respectively.