Newmont, DRA to pay $2.5m fine over Ahafo mine accident
Newmont Ghana Gold Limited and DRA Ghana Limited are to pay fines totalling $2.5 million for their roles in the accident that claimed the lives of six workers at the Newmont Ahafo Mine in April this year.
DRA Limited will be sanctioned for operating at the Ahafo site without a mining services operation permit, which is a breach of the mining regulations.
As part of the punitive measures, DRA Limited will, for each day that it “had operated without the operating permit, pay an additional fine of $200”.
A third company, Consar Ghana Limited, which operates under DRA is to pay an additional fine of $200,000.
These were part of the recommendations by the investigative committee constituted to find the cause of the Newmont Ahafo Mine accident on April 7, 2018.
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At a press briefing in Accra on Monday on the recommendations of the investigative committee, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, further directed DRA Limited to open a fully functioning local office in Ghana to be manned by a resident managing director within two weeks on receipt of the report.
The directives, he explained, were informed after a review of a petition submitted by DRA which sought to absolve itself from any responsibility.
He further directed all operators on all mine sites in Ghana to comply with all laws, regulations and terms of their licences without fail, stressing that “failure to do so will come with sanctions, which could include withdrawal of their licences, as well as other punitive penalties”.
Mr Amewu said the investigative committee had also directed Newmont Ghana Gold Limited Ahafo Mine to suspend DRA Limited from all activities at the NGGL Ahafo Mine for failure to ensure the absolute health, safety and security of its contractor employees and, therefore, in breach of Regulation 553, LI 2182 of 2012.
“DRA Limited shall be dismissed from undertaking any construction project management on any mining site in Ghana for its blunt disregard for safety. DRA Limited shall be fined US$10,000 for operating at the Ahafo site without a mining services operation permit (breach of Regulation 8 (4 and 5) LI 2182 of 2012), and for each day that the company had operated without the operating permit, an additional fine of US$200 shall be imposed,” he quoted the committee’s recommendation.
The minister said Newmont Ghana Gold Limited shall also be fined US$10,000 for failure to ensure that DRA Limited obtained an operating permit prior to commencing operations at the Ahafo site (breach of Regulation 8 (4 and 5) LI 2182 of 2012), and for each day that the company had operated without the permit, an additional fine of US$200 shall be imposed.
He said for failure to ensure the safety of contractor employees working at the Ahafo Mine site, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited shall pay the fatally wounded and injured employees the appropriate workmen compensation.
“In addition, the fatally wounded employees should be compensated for their traumatic death, loss of their lives and jettisoning of their livelihood. The NGGL shall be fined US$10,000 for breach of Regulation 23 (1), LI 2182 of 2012),” he added.
Mr Amewu said the committee also recommended the dismissal of Mr Osei Owusu Adansi, the Supervisor of Consar Ltd, from working as a supervisor at the A.M.E. Project site for not ensuring the safety of his workmen (breaches of regulations 550 and 553, LI 2182 of 2012).
The committee, he said, also asked Newmont to immediately review all organograms to ensure that ‘The General Manager’ had oversight responsibilities over all projects, pursuant to Regulation 40 and 55, LI 2182 of 2012. For that breach, NGGL shall be fined US$10,000.
He said NGGL had also been directed to ensure that functional managers had control and oversight responsibilities over the operational activities of all projects on the mine.
“NGGL shall immediately review its organisational structure to be consistent with operational responsibilities of the statutorily appointed managers to remedy the breach of the requirements under Regulation 35, LI. 2182 of 2012. For this breach, NGGL shall be fined US$10,000. The General Manager of NGGL Ahafo Mine shall ensure absolute responsibility of all the activities of contractors over the life of the A.M.E. project.
“NGGL shall ensure that all agents and contractors working at the Ahafo Mine site identify, label and communicate exclusive zones to workers each day prior to commencement of task. NGGL shall ensure that all contractors on the mine have mine support services operating permits,” the committee recommended.
On April 7, 2018, there was an accident at the NGGL Ahafo Mine, which resulted in six workers being killed and four other workers of Consar Limited sustaining various degrees of injury.
After a visit to the site on April 8, 2018, Mr Amewu constituted an investigation team, under the auspices of the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission, to conduct an enquiry into the causes and circumstances leading to the accident.
Among other objectives, the committee was to find out the cause(s) leading to the fatal injury, whether there were standard operating procedures which were complied with, in consonance with tenets of the Minerals and Mining (Health, Safety and Technical) Regulations, 2012 (LI 2182), whether any negligence or omission was occasioned and to effect appropriate sanctions if any.
After almost five weeks of sitting, the committee submitted its report on May 18, 2018.