The interdiction of the Chief Inspector of Mines and the closure of Maxam Company Limited which came from a directive by the Minister of Land and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, due to the recent explosion that occurred at Appiatse, close to Bogoso in the Western Region, has been described as premature by a mining engineer.
According to mining engineer and lawyer, Theophilus Dzimega, the decision was a knee jerk one because investigation is still underway by the experts of which the outcome will have to be submitted to the Chief Inspector of Mines, hence, making the decision this early is a bad one.
“There are professionals currently working on the investigation on what has happened. Then those professionals will be invariably reporting to a chief inspector of mines. So whether you remove this current chief inspector or not there will be another chief inspector of mines, albeit, in an acting capacity, so it’s the same thing
Now part of the regulation says that the Chief inspector of Mines responsible for holding an accident or incident enquiry. So if the law makes a provision for somebody to be responsible for something, even if it conflicts with natural justice, that person is the one supposed to do it,” he said.
He explained that, below the Chief Inspector of Mines, other inspectors of mines who are in-between Tarkwa and Chirano are the inspectors of explosives for the purposes of administering and enforcing the regulations of LI 2177. Hence, he wonders whether those inspectors will also have to be interdicted.
He pointed out that the conditions for which the Chief Inspector of Mines can be asked to step down is when the outcome of the investigation points out to something he did or did not do in his line of duty.
Mr. Dzimega commenting on the shutdown of Maxam Company limited said it would have been best if stakeholders within the mining industry were consulted and opinions sought, stating that the shutdown will have dire consequences within the mining industry and on the nation at large.
“Now the Chamber of Mmines is a big industry player. Has the chamber been consulted? No! We have West African institute of mining and Minerals Engineering Society, it has not been consulted. So there are other big players in the industry that are stakeholders whose views have not been sought on how to do this.
It will also affect the revenue of the mines because they cannot just jump and start to blast, it will affect their target. If it is affecting target, then, it will affect the nation’s revenue as well and it will affect the maintenance of the employees on their pay roll,” he noted.
Mr. Dzimega argued that the complaints being made that Maxam Company Limited was not meeting some regulatory conditions was not done as a result of transportation of explosives, but was rather done as a result of a visit to their manufacturing plant, stating that there is not enough evidence, hence, the reason why its license should not be suspended.