Another Shaanxi mine-blast has killed two of it’s own workers last Monday after a loose hanging heavy rock fell on them in an underground cave leaving one severely injured.
Readers will recall that in January this year, 17 people died as a result of Shaanxi’s bad industry practices. The Minerals Commission’s Investigative report on the matter indicted Shaanxi and found them guilty on five different counts of negligence and bad practices which attracted a fine of $50,000 slapped on the Chinese.
The overall official death toll since Shaanxi Ghana Mining Limited(SGML) started operations in the Upper East is 33 including the last two recorded last Monday according to the Chief Crime Officer in the Talensi district, Chief Superintendent Sampson Agbeko.
Explaining how the two men died on Monday and how another got injured in the same mishap, the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Ltd’s Public Relations Officer, Maxwell Wooma, said the mineworkers were on duty as usual when they got trapped under a fallen huge rock.
“It’s a very unfortunate occurrence. They were working in an old stope (an open space underground). In the course of their operations, they needed to drop the debris, to loosen it by watering it. The loose, the ore body, hanging loosely, came down. It moved heavier than they anticipated and trapped them. Their colleagues realised they had been trapped, and surfaced to report the matter.
“We sent an immediate rescue team down to rescue them. Their whole bodies were trapped. The rock that trapped them was huge, so, it took much time to rescue them. They were brought to the hospital here. I am told they were pronounced dead on arrival. There are instances where we have to blame ourselves for negligence; but in this instance, it is an accident,” he told newsmen as grief and row deepened at the mortuary grounds.
Why Shaanxi can’t be bothered
In Ghana, small scale mining is the exclusive preserve of the indigenes and per the company code, to be a local company, you need to have at least 51% local content or shares. But in the case of this Chinese company(Shaanxi), the contract between Shaanxi and Pubortaaba & Yenyeya Mining Group(local small scale mining group), Shaanxi has 93% whiles Pubortaaba & Yenyeya Mining Group whose Small Scale license the Chinese are using has 7%.
Also, in that contract, it clearly states that Pubortaaba and Yenyeya MUST NOT engage itself in any mining activity on the concession nor allow any person or organization to do same on the concession agreed upon. So the Chinese are actually the ones doing the small scale mining with license procured by Pubortaaba & Yenyeya.
It is also interesting to note that Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited was the only Small Scale mining company in Ghana who was given ministerial authorization under the powerful hand of the then sector Minister John Peter Amewu to continue to mine when a whole government of Ghana had officially banned all forms of small scale mining and Galamsey in the country for two years.