The Lands and Natural Resources Ministry has imposed a $2.7 million fine on DRA limited, Consar and Newmont Ghana Gold limited over the recent Ahafo Mines disaster that claimed six lives.
DRA limited, the company under whose supervision Consar Limited was working is to bare $2 million of the fine in addition to a series of recommendations by the committee tasked to look into the Newmont Ahafo Mines disaster in April this year.
Newmont Ghana is expected to pay $500, 000 while Consar Ghana Limited is to pay an additional fine of US$200,000.
The fatal accident that occurred at the Newmont Ahafo Mine at Kenyasi No 2 in the Brong Ahafo region on Saturday, April 7, 2018 claimed the lives of six workers.
The deceased were identified as Kwadwo Asare, Gideon Amankwaa, Kojo Bismarch, Ben Brako, Agyei Wale and Ebenezer Sarfo.
They were workers of Consar Company Limited, a sub-contracting firm which had been contracted to construct a reclaim tunnel roof at the Ahafo Mill Expansion Project.
They were on the site when the structure collapsed and trapped them.
Four others, Musa Sulemana, Seth Kwame, Daniel Dzitor and one other person who got injured during the accident were treated and discharged at the SOS Clinic of the mine.
Below is the full statement
PRESS STATEMENT BY HON. MINISTER FOR LANDS & NATURAL RESOURCES ON ENQUIRY REPORT ON MULTIPLE FATALITY ACCIDENT AT NEWMONT AHAFO MILL EXPANSION (A.M.E.) PROJECT ON 7TH APRIL 2018
On 7th April 2018, in compliance with Regulation 26 of Minerals and Mining (Health Safety and Technical Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2182), Management of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (Newmont or NGGL) Ahafo Mine, reported an accident which resulted in multiple fatalities (six dead) and various degrees of injuries to four other workers of Consar Limited.
Consar is a contractor working under the supervision of DRA Ghana Limited, an Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Management (EPCM) agent of NGGL, 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 Reclaim Tunnel failed, fatally injuring six men and injuring four others.
On the Sunday 8th April, 2018 the Hon. Minister led a team of 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. The Hon. Minister and the team also visited the deceased families to commiserate with them as well as the injured.
Pursuant to Regulation 16(1)(c) of L.I. 2182, the Hon. Minister constituted an investigation team under the auspices of the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission to conduct an enquiry into the causes and circumstances leading to the accident.
The objectives of the enquiry were:
• To find out the cause(s) leading to the fatal injury
• To find out whether there were standard operating procedures, which were complied with in consonance with tenets of the Minerals and Mining (Health, Safety and Technical) Regulations, 2012 (LI 2182).
• To find out whether any negligence or omission was occasioned
• To find out the occasion of lapses leading to the accident
• To find out the occurrence of any operational challenges leading to the accident
• To institute corrective and preventive measures to obviate any future occurrence of the incident.
• To effect appropriate sanctions if any.
On 18th May 2018, a copy of the Report of the investigation Team was presented/submitted to the Ministry of Lands & Natural Resources. 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 Ministry has been reliably informed that NGGL has already deployed resources to support the injured and the families of the deceased victims.
The investigations team has come out with the following recommendations:
I. Newmont Ghana Gold Limited Ahafo Mine shall suspend DRA Ghana Limited from all their activities at NGGL Ahafo Mine for failure to ensure the absolute health, safety and security of their contractor employees and therefore in branch of Regulation 553, LI 2182 of 2012.
II. DRA Ghana Limited shall be dismissed from undertaking any construction project management on any mining site in Ghana for their blunt disregard for safety.
III. 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.
IV. Newmont Ghana Gold Limited shall also be fined US$10,000 for failure to ensure that DRA Ghana Limited obtains a Mining Services Operating Permit prior to commencing operations at the Ahafo Site (breach of Regulation 8(4 and 5) LI 2182 of 2012) and for each day that the Company had operated without the Mine Support Operating Permit, an additional fine of US$200 shall be imposed.
V. 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.
VI. NGGL shall be fined US$10,000 for breach of Regulation 23(1), L.I. 2182 of 2012).
VII. Mr. Osei Owusu Adansi (Supervisor of Consar Ltd.) shall be dismissed from working as a supervisor at the A.M.E. Project site, for not ensuring the safety of his workmen (breaches of Regulations 550 and 553, L.I. 2182 of 2012).
VIII. In the event of a major spill of concrete mixture during pouring, Consar Limited shall ensure that pouring of concrete mixture into formworks shall be halted, and a report should be made to the Project Managers for assessment and decision making.
IX. There shall be no work underneath any erected formworks during the pouring of concrete mixtures. Work can only take place after the concrete mixture had been certified to be cured by a competent person.
X. Consar Limited in continuing their work shall develop and implement controls to prevent workers from working beneath suspended load across the entire site with immediate effect.
XI. The designs and construction of all formworks at the A.M.E. Project shall be reviewed immediately to take into consideration the horizontal forces on the haunch/chamfer at the edges of slabs.
XII. Provisions shall be made in all designs and construction of formworks for diagonal or cross and horizontal bracings for all Projects on the Mine.
XIII. Newmont shall immediately review all organograms to ensure that The General Manager has oversight responsibilities over all projects pursuant to Regulation 40 and 55, LI. 2182 of 2012. For this breach NGGL shall be fined US$10,000.
XIV. Further, NGGL shall ensure that Functional Managers have control and oversight responsibilities over the operational activities of all Projects on the Mine.
XV. 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.
XVI. General Manager of NGGL, Ahafo Mine shall ensure absolute responsibility of all the activities of Contractors over the life of the A.M.E. Project.
XVII. There shall be a civil supervisor and Safety Officer always present at the site during all operations by all contractors.
XVIII. All props shall be aligned vertically and braced appropriately during all such installations of formwork and supports.
XIX. All formworks designed by a Certified Engineer shall be inspected ad proved by same after installation.
XX. All Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) of all activities at the A.M.E. Project shall specify responsible and accountable persons for each task.
XXI. Consar Limited shall provide logbooks on site to record instructions, activities etc.
XXII. Consar Limited shall provide details of their Emergency Response Plans to the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission by May 30, 2018. Consar Limited shall be fined US$10,000 each for failure to have site specific emergency response plan.
XXIII. NGGL shall be fined US$10,000 for not ensuring that DRA Ghana Limited and Consar Limited had emergency response plan.
XXIV. Newmont shall review its emergency Reponses Plan to include construction related scenarios by May 30, 2018.
XXV. Consar Limited shall immediately ensure that risk assessment completed for the tasks have adequate controls.
XXVI. All concrete mixing trucks for Consar Limited shall have waybills in them.
XXVII. Consar Limited shall ensure careful supervision and continuous inspection of formwork during erection, concrete placement, and removal of formwork.
XXVIII. Consar Limited shall remove the deformed formwork and iron rods and fix new ones before the concrete slab is recast.
XXIX. All the conveyor support structure, equipment and chutes which had been installed prior to pouring the concrete mixture, shall be removed to enable the appropriate supports to be erected prior to recasting the slab.
XXX. NGGL shall ensure that all agents and contractors working at the Ahafo Mine site identify, label and communicate exclusive zones to workers each day prior to commencement of task.
XXXI. NGGL shall ensure that all contractors on the Mine have Mine Support Services Operating Permits.
XXXII. Henceforth there shall be counterpart Ghanaian Consulting Engineers and Architects for all Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Management activities at all mine sites in fulfillment of Local Content requirements.
DIRECTIVES FROM THE HON. MINISTER ON THE OUTCOME OF THE INVESTIGATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS MADE
Upon receipt of the report, DRA submitted a petition in response in a bid to absolve itself. However, following a review of the said petition, the Hon. Minister has subsequently directed the Minerals Commission to implement to the letter all the recommendations made by the investigation team. Indeed, above recommendations notwithstanding, and without any prejudice to any further action required by law and/or as recommended by the Investigation Report, The Hon. Minister as per the Minerals and Mining Act 2006, Act 703 Section 5(1) hereby directs as follows:
1. For their contribution to the accident and save the implementation of item (i) and (ii) of the recommendations above by the Government of Ghana i.e. suspension and /or revocation of operating licence:
a. DRA Ghana Limited is to pay an additional fine of US$2 million;
b. NGGL is to pay an additional fine of US$500,000; and
c. Consar Ghana Limited is to pay an additional fine of US$200,000.
2. DRA should open a fully functioning local office in Ghana which is manned by a resident Managing Director within two weeks upon receipt of this report.
In general, safety of workers at all mine sites in Ghana is of paramount interest to government. To this end, all operators on all mines sites in Ghana are also reminded that they are to comply with all laws, regulations and terms of their licences without fail. Failure to do so would come with sanctions which could include withdrawal of their licences as well as other punitive penalties.
All operators at all mine sites in Ghana are therefore to take note of these directives and strictly comply with them forthwith.
For Lands & Natural Resources