Home » Illegal Quarry Explosion in Ghana Kills 5, Injures 6; Three Chinese Nationals Missing

Illegal Quarry Explosion in Ghana Kills 5, Injures 6; Three Chinese Nationals Missing

by Motoni Olodun

A deadly explosion at a quarry site in Ghana’s Western Region has raised questions about the safety and regulation of the mining industry. The blast, which occurred on Saturday night, killed five people, injured six others, and left three Chinese nationals unaccounted for.

According to local authorities, the quarry was operated by a company called Sta Addsams Enterprise, which had applied for a restricted mining lease for granite but had yet to obtain the permits. They also accused the company of storing explosives in an unsafe manner and conducting nighttime operations to avoid detection.

An ammonia nitrate detonation, which created a huge pile of debris and damaged nearby buildings, caused the explosion. The rescue team, comprising officials from the Minerals Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Disaster Management Organisation, the Ghana Fire Service, the Ambulance Service, the Ghana Police Service, and the Shama District Assembly, searched for survivors and recovered four bodies that were burned beyond recognition. Another body was found later, bringing the death toll to five.

Among the casualties were workers of both Ghanaian and Chinese nationalities. Three Chinese nationals are still missing and presumed dead. The injured victims were taken to various hospitals for treatment. Some of them are in critical condition.

The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, said it would bring the company’s owners to book for the deadly outcome of their activities. He also said the government, and the industry needed to work together to ensure the safety and benefits of mining.

The Assembly Member for the Anto Aboso Electoral Area, Emmanuel Owua-Awie, disclosed that over GH¢55,000 ($9,500) was found at the explosion site, belonging to the quarry owners. He said part of the money was used to settle the hospital bills of the injured victims.

This is not the first time that Ghana has witnessed a quarry explosion. In January 2022, 16 people were killed, injuring 490 others when a truck carrying mining explosives detonated at Appiatse in the same region. The incident sparked public outrage and calls for stricter regulation of the mining sector.

Quarrying is a lucrative business in Ghana, which is rich in natural resources such as gold, bauxite, manganese, and diamonds. However, it also poses environmental and social risks, such as pollution, land degradation, deforestation, and human rights violations. Many quarry operators are foreign-owned; some operate illegally or without proper oversight.

The latest explosion has once again highlighted the need for effective monitoring and enforcement of mining laws and standards in Ghana. It has also exposed the vulnerability of workers and communities who bear the brunt of mining accidents.

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