8 miners feared dead, dozens injured in explosive blast
At least eight small-scale miners are feared dead and several mineworkers reportedly injured in a disaster that struck before the wee hours of Wednesday at Gbane, a community in the eastern area of the Talensi District.
Speaking to Starr News minutes after five bodies were pulled out from a mining pit at the scene of the latest disaster, a grief-stricken eyewitness said two victims were rushed to the Upper East Regional Hospital before five more bodies were recovered from a mining tunnel.
“The incident happened around 3:10am before dawn today (Wednesday) after the Shaanxi people blasted their explosives. The small-scale miners were inside their pits when the Shaanxi people blasted and the smoke choked the miners. Two died at the regional hospital and one died at Datuko. Right now, five bodies are lying on the floor with foam coming out from their mouths and noses,” said the eyewitness.
He added: “And as I speak to you, two people are also being rushed to hospital. They are very weak.”
Subsequently, the Acting Upper East Regional Chairman of the Ghana Small-Scale Miners Association, Robert Tampoare, vowed to stop “Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd from killing our people.
“It is so sad that I have been talking about this to the government, the Minerals Commission and the inter-ministerial team about the dangerous works of Shaanxi. The Tongo Rana said he ‘is supporting the Shaanxi [because] they are doing good job’.
“We are not going to sit down and look at this one again. We are going to organise a press conference tomorrow (Thursday). If the government and the Minerals Commission do not do something, we’ll not allow Shaanxi to continue to kill our people. We will go out to face Shaanxi. It is so sad,” Mr. Tampoare fumed.
Meanwhile, the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Ltd has denied responsibility as mourners around the site of Wednesday’s calamity continue to count casualties.
“I received a call around 1:00am that some people had been brought to the regional hospital and others the Afrikids Medical Centre by one gentleman called Kofi Macho and another Bantama Kwesi. They say they inhaled gases when they were doing their operations. So, I asked whether these were our staff and they indicated ‘no’.
“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. When we get to the hospital, we can establish who brought who, how many did the person bring, at what time and where were they working? At least, this should be able to assist the public with the truth and the facts. It’s very clear that the (victims) were not our staff,” said Shaanxi’s Public Relations Officer, Maxwell Wooma.
Sources say 15 persons are on admission in the wake of the midweek horror.