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Tragic Quarry Explosion in Assorko, Shama District Unveils Unauthorized Operations

In a shocking turn of events, a quarry site in Assorko, located in the Shama District of the Western Region, experienced a devastating explosion during the late hours of September 9, 2023. The incident, which occurred approximately 1.5 kilometers away from the nearest settlement, Kobenandohkrom, left five people dead and several others injured.

The Western Regional Head of the Minerals Commission in Takoradi was alerted to the explosion by the local Assemblyman of the Anto-Abosso area at around 11:50 pm on September 9th. Subsequently, a team of Mine Inspectors from the Takoradi Office of the Minerals Commission swiftly arrived at the scene at approximately 6:45 am on September 10th. They were joined by officials from various state institutions, including NADMO, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ghana Fire Service, Ambulance Service, the Ghana Police Service, and representatives from the Shama District Assembly, all coming together to investigate the site.

Preliminary investigations conducted by the Commission revealed several alarming details. Firstly, the site of the explosion was linked to Sta Addsams Enterprise, a company that had applied for a Restricted Mining Lease for granite, commonly referred to as a quarry. Notably, the recommendation for the company’s lease had been granted on March 20, 2023, but the formal lease from the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources had not been issued at the time of the explosion.

Furthermore, the explosion occurred within the residential facilities of the company, which included various structures, both permanent and containerized. During their inspection, the officials also discovered empty drums believed to have contained diesel, lubricants, and evidence of cigarette use. Oxy-acetylene cylinders were found at the scene as well.

The tragic incident resulted in the destruction of all facilities, including vehicles and equipment, near the residential structures on the site. Five individuals lost their lives, and injured persons were rushed to hospitals within Sekondi-Takoradi for treatment.

What raises significant concerns is that the enterprise was reportedly operating at night in an attempt to evade notice from inspectors of the Minerals Commission and the local task force, which comprises members of the police and the sand winners and quarry association. A routine monitoring visit by the inspectors had earlier revealed that the company was conducting unauthorized site cleaning and preparatory work, running machinery and equipment without the Commission’s approval.

In response, the enterprise was promptly directed to cease all activities on the site until the lease was officially granted, along with obtaining all other necessary permits and approvals for the storage, transportation, and use of substances in their operations.

In light of these findings, it is clear that the enterprise’s activities were illegal. The Minerals Commission emphasizes its commitment to ensuring that all quarry sites are properly licensed and that all requisite approvals and permits are obtained before any operations are allowed to proceed. The tragic explosion serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers associated with unapproved quarry operations and the critical importance of adhering to regulations in the industry.

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