Samuel Atta Akyea, Chairman of Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee, has applauded the decision of the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR)-appointed committee to investigate the incident at Appiaste in the Western area and locate MAXAM business Limited.
Following the incident, a fine was imposed on the corporation responsible for the manufacture, storage, and transportation of explosives for mining and other civil works.
“Following the incident, the Minerals Commission, the mining industry’s regulator, conducted its investigations and submitted its report to me in accordance with the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L. I. 2177),” said Lands Minister Samuel Abu Kinapor in a statement on Tuesday February 8. Because of the complexities of the situation, I formed a three-member Committee, chaired by Mr. Benjamin Aryee, a very respectable former Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, to conduct independent investigations to confirm or refute the Minerals Commission’s findings.
“The three-member Committee presented its report on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. The Ministry found regulatory violations on the part of Maxam Ghana Limited (hereinafter referred to as “Maxam”) in the fabrication, storage, and transportation of explosives for mining and other civil works after reviewing the two reports. Fines range from 600 cedis (GI-1000.00) to ten thousand US dollars (US$10,000) for these violations, according to L.I. 2177.
“However, in light of the nature and totality of the circumstances leading to this tragic incident, I, as the Minister responsible for Lands and Natural Resources, and thus the sector’s overseer, have imposed on Maxam an administrative fine of one million United States dollars (US$1,000,000.00) at the prevailing commercial rate.”
“In addition to the penalties, it has been decided, following protracted discussions with Maxam, that the corporation will pay the Government the cedi equivalent of five million United States dollars (US$5,000,000.00) at the current commercial rate. For the avoidance of doubt, Maxam owes the Government a total of six million US dollars (US$6,000,000.00) in cash or its tech equivalent at the current commercial rate.
“Before its permit to manufacture, store, supply, and/or transport explosives can be restored, Maxam must pay a fine of one million United States dollars (US$1,000,000.00) or its cedi equivalent at the prevailing commercial rate.” The remaining five million US dollars (US$5,000,000.00) will be paid in eighteen (18) equal monthly instalments, beginning March 1, 2022, and ending August 1, 2023, based on Maxam’s demonstrated cash inflows and existing conditions.”
However, the business has denied any culpability in the Appaiste explosion near Bogoso in the Western area.
The Management published a statement on Tuesday, February 8, in response to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources’ findings against it.“Maxam has been deeply saddened by the road accident and the loss of lives, injuries and extensive damage to property suffered by the Appiatse community. Our hearts go out to the community members.
“Maxam has noted the findings made by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources from its review of the tragic road accident and its assessment of how to avoid a recurrence. The Ministry has determined that there were certain breaches by Maxam in its operations and has imposed a fine of US$1 million on the company. None of these breaches were the cause of the tragic road accident and all of them relate to the transport carried out by Arthaans Logistics. Based on a different interpretation of the applicable regulations, we believe that Maxam has not committed any of those breaches, however, to ensure the continuity of the business, to be able to supply our customers, to protect the employment of our workers and sub-contractors, Maxam has decided to pay the fine and will comply with the measures of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
“Given our commitment to Ghana and its welfare, Maxam has agreed to the payment of additional Five Million United States Dollars or its cedi equivalent.
“We are indeed saddened by the incident and we express our heartfelt sympathy to Ghana, particularly, members of the Appiatse community for the loss of lives, property and livelihoods.
“Maxam will ensure it is in full compliance with the new regulatory measures announced by the Ministry and will continue to conduct its operations in accordance with the laws of Ghana and international best practices. Maxam wishes to emphasize its sympathy with the Appiatse community.”
Mr Atta Akyea, who is also a politician for Abuakwa South, said in an interview with TV3, “Sometimes if you are not careful it gets draconian and it is like you are trying to whip them up to the fact that if you are performing such a delicate job you might incur significant costs, So, in my opinion, this is just the beginning to ensure that they wake up.
“You should also keep in mind that if it becomes overly strict, it may have an impact on their business effectiveness or efficiency.” In terms of the money they’ll need for all of this, they’ll need a lot of it. I see that the payment isn’t so great. Okay, in terms of an upfront payment, we’re staggered the payment, which means they’re not as liquid as some people might think because they’d have said they’d pay up front and that’d be the end of it.”
“That is contradictory because at the end of the day I have said and I am tempted to come to some conclusion that the committee will of necessity involve MAXAM before it can come to any conclusion that is the point of the matter,” he said of MAXAM’s claim that they are not culpable.
“So all they have to say by way of ex parte evidence they may have already stated so to come and say you are not liable after the findings have been given down leaves a lot to be desired, and I don’t think that is the way to go.” It’s also insulting to them that you want to pay money when you’re not at fault.”