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Thirteen miners killed at Chinese-owned gold mine in Ghana

28 January 2019

The Ghana Mineral Commission has directed Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited to suspend all operations at its Gbane mine site with immediate effect following the death of 13 small-scale miners in a blast on the site. Several other miners have reportedly been injured. Reports indicate that the incident occurred while company workers set off blasting explosives on the site.

Representative image - Shutterstock
Representative image - Shutterstock

The resultant smoke clouds and fumes killed the small-scale miners nearby, local media said.
The CEO of the Minerals Commission, Addae Antwi-Boasiako, said in a statement copied to Joy News, “Management of Shaanxi Mining Company Limited is directed to suspend all mining operations at Gbane with immediate effect until further notice pending investigations into the tragic incident that occurred today.”
The Chinese-owned mine at Gbane has faced years of protests because of its safety record. The head of the local Ghana Small-Scale Miners Association, Robert Tampoare, vowed to stop Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd “from killing our people”.
Recent deaths at the mine include:
* October 2018: A cleaner died after being hit by a machine inside a mining pit.
* April 2017: Seven illegal miners died after being trapped by smoke. 
* January 2016: An employee of the company died after he was buried under a pile of ore.
* April 2015: Two miners died and eight were critically injured from fumes from explosives.
* April 2014: Two miners died from poisonous fumes and one was severely injured.
* October 2014: Three miners lost their lives when a pit collapsed on them.
* May 2013: Three illegal small-scale miners perished in a tunnel following an explosion.

But Shaanxi Mining Ghana Ltd denied responsibility for the latest incident. Company Public Relations Officer Maxwell Wooma said the individuals concerned were not Shaanxi staff and they had been illegally mining near the company’s operational facilities.

“They are not our staff. Most of these things happen at the blind side of our own operations. But because we are very close to them, they usually use us as a convenient alibi when these accidents occur. It’s in the course of their own operations that this has occurred.”

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