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Union calls for ratification of ILO Convention 176 after explosion kills 13 and destroys Ghana village

28 January, 2022A truck carrying mining explosives from Tarkwa to Chirano Gold Mines was involved in a road accident on 20 January. The impact of the crash led to an explosion that killed 13 people and injured over 50 others in the mining community of Appiatse.

Some houses were flattened whilst others were severely damaged by the blast. The Minerals Commission of Ghana is carrying out an investigation into the explosion and the mining licence of explosives manufacturer, Maxim Ghana, has been suspended together with its sub-contractor who was transporting the explosives.

Chirano Gold Mines is run by Canadian-based Kinross Gold Corporation.
According to reports, the explosives should have been transported with police escort, which was not the case. The government of Ghana and other organizations have since launched relief efforts to support the community.
The Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU), affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, says this explosives’ disaster could have been averted if health and safety protocols were followed.

The union further emphasizes that this is an opportune time for the government of Ghana to ratify the International Labour Organization Convention 176 on safety and health in the mines, and to domesticate it into national laws as one of the strategies to stop similar accidents from happening in the future.
Abdul-Moomin Gbana, GMWU general secretary, says:

“The union commiserates with the entire Appiatse community some of whom are our members and their families for the loss and wish to assure them of our fullest support in these very troubling times.

“Mining communities need to be assured that mining and related activities will not endanger lives and livelihoods. The surest way to do that is to focus more on the preventive side by educating the citizenry, ensuring strict enforcement and compliance with safety standards, and punishing transgressors frontally.”

Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa, says:

“It is horrific that so many lives were lost due to negligence and failure to adhere to health and safety measures. We will support the GMWU in their campaign for the ratification of C176, and in carrying out health and safety awareness among workers and communities.”