The government of Ghana has slapped penalties of various degrees on Newmont Ghana Gold and its contractors for infringing laid down procedures in the mining sector, a release by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources announced here on Monday.
The directive followed investigations into an accident that occurred at the Ahafo Mines site of Newmont Ghana Gold, one of the largest gold producers in the country, on April 7.
Management of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited reported the accident at its Ahafo Mine site, near Sunyani, about 400 km north of the capital, which resulted in the death of six workers and injuries to four others of Consar Limited, contractors of the mining firm.
Government investigations into the incident found Newmont Ghana Gold and its assigns culpable of a number of infractions of laid down procedures in the mining sector.
Based on the report of a committee constituted to investigate the cause of the accident, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, directed that Newmont and one of its contractors, DRA, be fined a total of 2.7 million US Dollars for flouting laid down procedures in the mining sector.
Whereas DRA Limited is to be sanctioned for operating at the Ahafo site without Mining Services Operation Permit, which is a breach of a mining regulation, Newmont shall in addition to the fine pay the fatally wounded and the injured employees the appropriate workmen compensation for failure to ensure the safety of contractor employees working at the Ahafo Mine Site.
In general, the release emphasized that the safety of workers at all mine sites in Ghana was of paramount interest to government.
To this end, it added that all operators on all mine sites in Ghana were also reminded that they were to comply with all laws, regulations and terms of their licenses without fail.
“Failure to do so would come with sanctions which could include withdrawal of their licenses as well as other punitive penalties,” it cautioned.
For the blunt disregard for safety, the minister ordered that DRA Ghana Limited be dismissed from undertaking any construction project management on any mining site in Ghana.
Apart from disasters involving mostly illegal miners, Ghana, second largest gold producer in Africa after South Africa, has been acclaimed for high standard safety conditions leading to very few reported accidents in its mining sector in recent times.
Ghana Chamber of Mines reported here on Friday that the country raked in 5.92 billion US dollars of revenue from its mineral production last year.