The Shaanxi Mining Company Limited in the Upper East Region, has been ordered to halt its operations at Gbane following the death of at least 15 persons in an explosion that is said to have happened close to the Chinese-owned company.
The directive came in a statement from the Minerals Commission in response to the Wednesday morning incident.
“Management of Shaanxi Mining Company Limited is directed to suspend all mining operations at Gbane with immediate effect until further notice pending investigations into the tragic incident that occurred today [Wednesday],” a letter from the Minerals Commission said.The mining company has said it will obey the directive as it expects investigators to begin work on Thursday.
Authorities are yet to provide some clarity on the incident and what caused the deaths.
The Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited had its licences suspended in 2017 over safety concerns following a similar incident.
That followed the death of seven miners at the company’s underground operations.
Shaanxi Mining was eventually allowed to commence operations on August 28, 2017, after a three-month suspension because the company had improved safety standards.
The District Chief Executive of Talensi, Dr Christopher Boatbil, said police are investigating to see if Shaanxi Mining is complicit in this incident.
He said he had told the hospitals caring for the injured “to ensure that we get the identity of the victims because we wanted to know whether the people who have suffered this calamity are workers of Shaanxi Mining Company or are illegal miners or other groups of people that may have gone into the pit.”
The Public Relations officer of the Shaanxi Mine, Maxwell Wooma, has however explained that the accident “occurred outside the mining area of Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited.”
The company is also blaming a noted illegal miner in the area known as Kwesi Bantama for the blast and resulting deaths.
“We subsequently reported it to the police at our side here and released our ambulance for them to take this illegal intruder to the regional hospital for treatment,” Maxwell Wooma said.