The Minerals Commission has revealed troubling information regarding the explosion that occurred at the Anto-Abosso area in the Shama District of the Western region, shedding light on illegal operations which caused the devastating tragedy.
According to the commission, Sta Addsams Enterprise, the owner of the site where the explosion took place, was operating illegally.
The company is alleged to have applied for a Restricted Mining Lease specifically for granite quarrying, with the recommendation for the grant of a formal lease approved on March 20, 2023. However, at the time of the explosion, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources had not issued a formal lease to the company, indicating that their operations were unauthorised.
Furthermore, the Minerals Commission’s statement revealed that the site of the explosion also housed residential facilities for the company, including various buildings and containerized structures. During an inspection of the site, empty drums that were believed to have previously contained diesel, other lubricants, cigarette remnants, and oxy-acetylene cylinders were discovered.
Tragically, all the facilities on the site, including light vehicles and equipment near the residential structures, were destroyed in the explosion, resulting in the confirmed deaths of five individuals.
The Minerals Commission’s statement further alleges that the company had been operating during the night, likely in an attempt to evade detection by the commission’s inspectors and the local task force, which includes the police and members of the sand winners and quarry Association.
Below are details of the statement:
RE: EXPLOSION AT A QUARRY SITE IN ASSORKO IN THE SHAMA DISTRICT OF THE WESTERN REGION
The Western Regional Head of the Minerals Commission at Takoradi (the “Commission”) was notified by the Assemblyman of the Anto-Abosso area in the Shama District at about 11.50pm on 9th September 2023, regarding an explosion at a quarry site.
A team of Mine Inspectors from the Takoradi Office of the Commission arrived at the site of the explosion at about 6.45 am on 10th September 2023. The area of the explosion is about 1.5 km away from the nearest settlement, Kobenandohkrom.
The inspectors were joined by officials from other State institutions comprising NADMO, Environmental Protection Agency, The Ghana Fire Service, Ambulance Service, the Ghana Police Service and officials from the Shama District Assembly to inspect the site.
The Commission, after the preliminary investigations can confirm that the site of the explosion is a subject of an application by a company with the name Sta Addsams Enterprise. The company has applied for a Restricted Mining Lease for granite commonly referred to as a quarry. The recommendation for the company to be considered for the grant of a formal lease was granted on 20th March 2023. At the time of the explosion, the company has not issued a lease by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.
Secondly, the site of the explosion is the residential facilities for the company. This included buildings and containerized structures. The inspectors also found at the site, empty drums believed to have contained diesel, other lubricants, cigarette pieces, oxy-acetylene cylinders were found at the scene.
Additionally, all the facilities including light vehicles and equipment close to the residential structures on site were destroyed and five (5) persons are confirmed dead and some injured persons were sent to various hospitals within Sekondi-Takoradi for treatment.
The administrator of the enterprise informed the inspectors that the company was working at night ostensibly to prevent them from being noticed by the inspectors of the Commission and the local task force comprising the police and members of the sand winners and quarry Association.
A routine monitoring visit by the inspectors from the Takoradi Office to the site revealed that the enterprise was engaged in site cleaning and preparatory works and had conducted run of the machines and equipment on site without the approval of the Commission.
The enterprise was therefore notified by the inspectors that such activities are illegal and was directed to cease any activity on the site until the lease is granted and all other permits and approvals for the storage, transportation and use of any substance to undertake operations are obtained.
In this regard, pending the completion of a full investigation into the cause of the explosion, the enterprise had no lease, approval or permit to undertake any activity or operation at the site.
Consequently, the activity of the enterprise was illegal. The Commission wishes to remind the media and the public that the Inspectorate Division is committed to ensuring that all quarry sites are licensed and all the requisite approvals and permits are obtained before operations are undertaken.