The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, has announced that a team of officials from the Inspection Division of the Minerals Commission has been tasked to launch full scale investigations into circumstances that led to the death sixteen small scale miners at Gbane in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region last Wednesday.
The miners suffocated to death while prospecting for gold underground. Dozens who were also affected were hospitalised, with some still receiving emergency treatment at the Upper East Regional Hospital.
On Thursday, the Medical Director at the Regional Hospital, Dr Patrick Atubrah, revealed the hospital was running out of oxygen, because almost all the accident victims were put on oxygen. He appealed to health agencies to support the hospital by replenishing its oxygen.
In a desperate move to obtain firsthand information on what has now been described as the most disastrous mining accident in the region, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh visited the community and held a meeting with the management of Shaanxi Mining Company, before visiting the community where he was taken to the concession of Kwasi Appiah, alias Bantama Kwasi, where the police on the day of the accident retrieved five dead bodies.
Briefing the media after his tour of the community, the Minister expressed the government’s condolences to the bereaved families and called for calm.
Mr. Asomah-Cheremeh, who was accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Addae Antwi Boasiako, announced that the Inspection Division of the Minerals Commission has been directed to conduct thorough investigations into the accident.
He also disclosed that the government, in the coming days, will hold a meeting with all stakeholders in Accra to try and find solutions to the long feud that has existed between the two small scale firms – Yenyeya and Porbotaaba – to which Shaanxi Mining Company is providing mining support services and individual miners.
The Minister also visited the victims at the Regional Hospital and wished them speedy recovery.
He also directed that all mining activities be halted, including those of Shaanxi Mining Company, until investigations are over.