On January 20, 2022, a truck carrying explosive materials – ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (“ANFO”) – from the explosives plant of Maxam Ghana Limited (“Maxam”) in Chirano Gold Mines exploded, causing serious damage to life and property. 13 people were reported dead; 100 injured and several more were left homeless due to the impact of the blast which destroyed or structurally weakened almost every house in the community.
A three (3) member committee has been set up by the Department of Lands and Natural Resources to investigate the incident. The committee submitted its report to the Minister, the Hon. Samuel Abu Jinapor on February 1, 2022. After reviewing the Committee’s report, the Ministry, through a press release dated February 7, 2022, gave all companies operating in the sector 14 measures to serve as guidelines in the transportation of explosives by road.
The measures to be observed are as follows:
- Maxam and any other company must not transport explosives on a public road unless notice of the transport has been given to the Chief Inspector of Mines or the Regional Inspector of Mines; at least 48 hours before the scheduled time of transport. This allows for the required inspection and certification to be carried out before explosives are transported to a mine or quarry.
- A Mines/Explosives Inspector must be present, inspect, verify and record in the Explosives Record Book designated for transport that all required safety requirements, rules and protocols have been met before explosives are transported from the operating site company to a mine or quarry site.
- A Mines/Explosives Inspector must physically inspect the explosives truck to ensure that the truck is in good working order as per the Truck Review List. The trucker must hold a professional driver’s license to drive the vehicle before loading the explosives into the truck.
- All trucks used by the company to transport explosives must have:
I. A flashing red light clearly visible at least 100 meters away;
ii. A horn or siren, an automatically operated horn or bell;
iii. An automatic fire suppression system alongside fire extinguishers;
iv. A tracking system to monitor the speed and movement of the explosives truck;
v. An integrated monitoring system to check driver fatigue;
vi. A megaphone to warn people or passers-by in case of danger; and
vii. Drive cameras to monitor truck drivers for explosives.
5. Before each truck of explosives takes off from the company’s operating site, the consignment note for transport must be endorsed by a mines/explosives inspector who must be satisfied that the explosives are under the direct control a person who has a certificate of competency, in accordance with Regulation 15(2) of the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) (LI 2177) Regulations 2012 (“LI 2177”).
6. All trucks carrying explosives must be accompanied by escort vehicles which will be inspected by a mines inspector, and all details will be recorded in the inspector’s field book.
7. Escort vehicles must have:
a. A flashing red light clearly visible from at least 50 meters away.
b. A horn or siren or an automatically operated horn or bell.
8. Transportation of explosives on public roads must have two (2) attendants: one (1) leading the explosives truck and keeping a distance of at least 50 meters and at most 60 meters from the vehicle transporting the explosives with a uniformed and armed officer. policeman, and the other behind the explosives truck and maintaining a distance of at least 20 meters and not more than 30 meters, with an unarmed policeman in uniform.
9. Competent persons accompanying explosives trucks must notify the Regional Mines Inspector of the Region as soon as they arrive at their destination and indicate the times of arrival in a logbook designated for this purpose.
10. The company shall not, unless expressly authorized by the Chief Inspector of Explosives, transport ANFO on a public road to a mine or civil engineering site.
11. A person driving an escort vehicle must not drive more than 60 kilometers per hour.
12. Competent persons accompanying explosives should be trained in the Code of Safe Work Practices (Code of Safe Operating Procedures) for transporting explosives along public thoroughfares and should carry the code with them.
13. The explosives manager must develop the code of safe work practices and the code must be approved by an inspector.
14. The transportation of ANFO to or from the operating site of a registered mining support services company with the required permits or from a mine site is regulated by LI 2177.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has established these measures to ensure that mining and mining support services are performed in a safe and healthy environment that poses no danger to life and/or property.