The Spanish company Maxam Ghana Limited in charge of a truck that exploded and killed 13 people at Apeatse in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality of the Western Region has been fined $6 million for regulatory breaches regarding the manufacture, storage, and transportation of explosives for mining and other civil works.
In a press statement on Tuesday signed by the Lands Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, The breaches were identified by a three-member committee set up by the government to investigate the explosion that occurred at Apeatse.
In its report, the committee noted that Maxam had breached regulatory processes.
Although the penalties for the said breaches, pursuant to L.I. 2177, ranges between ¢600 to $10,000, Mr Jinapor imposed a hefty fine due to “the nature and the totality of the circumstance leading to this tragic incident.”
The Lands Minister has also set out 14 conditions to be met by the company before restoring their operating permit.
The measures include a ban on Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil (ANFO) transportation on a public road to a mine or civil work site unless expressly permitted by the Chief Inspector of Mines.
Other measures include explosives being guarded by two escort vehicles, one in front and one at the back, both having sirens to warn people about the explosives.
The company is to notify the Chief Inspector of Mines of their intention to transport explosives 48 hours before the scheduled transportation.
According to the minister, the 14 measures apply fully to all companies involved in manufacturing, supply, transportation, and use of explosives.
The statement also says sanctions against Jocyderk Logistics Limited and Arthanns Enterprise and Transport Services, two entities involved in the Apeatse tragic incident, are being reviewed and will be applied and communicated in the coming days.
Maxam Ghana Limited in a statement, however, denied breaching mining regulations but was quick to declare its commitment to paying the government’s $6 million fine.
“Based on a different interpretation of the applicable regulations, we believe that Maxam has not committed any of those breaches, however, to ensure the continuity of the business, to be able to supply our customers, to protect the employment of our workers and sub-contractors, Maxam has decided to pay the fine and will comply with the measures of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources,” a portion of a statement issued by Maxam Ghana Limited said.