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General News of Tuesday, 11 April 2017


Gbane mine blast kills 7, police investigations ongoing

Police have started investigations into a mine blast which occurred at Gbane in the Talensi district in the Upper East region that killed seven people.

The miners are said to have died after inhaling toxic fumes from a blast while underground last Thursday as a result of the blast. One person is said to be in a critical condition at the hospital.

They are believed to have been working illegally in a pit that belongs to a mining concession that works with a Chinese company, Shanxii, providing technical services.

Joy News Upper East correspondent, Albert Sore, said the locals are pointing fingers at the Chinese firm for carrying out the blast without warning to the miners who died.

One local miner who spoke with Joy News said, "this is not the first thing blasting has occurred at their site without notice."

He explained that there was a brewing conflict between the partner of the Chinese company and local miners who contract them.

"Because of the problem, the local miners have asked to be compensated to leave but the Chinese company is said to have refused. They have waited for long and the Minerals Commission mediating the issue has not gotten back to them.

He said they cannot be in waiting while locals keep losing their lives and they are pleading with the Commission to settle the two feuding parties to settle the case.

They insist the fumes that killed the miners came from the Chinese concession.

However, the PRO of Shanxii Maxwell Wome denies the accusations saying what has happened is in no way related to the disagreement between the local miners and his company.

"Normal work went on at our mines on Thursday and Friday and we only got to know about the incident after our attention was drawn to the fact that some people were at the Tamale regional hospital receiving treatment for a mine blast.

"The Bureua of National Investigations (BNI) called us about it but we cross checked and we had not recorded any accident in any of the faces of our underground mine," he said.

According to him, they blast every day and they send their workers to work in the underground every day despite that any blast should have affected the Shanxii workers as well.

He said they are happy that there are survivals who will tell investigators where they were working when the blast occurred adding they must also be asked whether they also use explosives.

Mr Woma questioned how the miners are able to work in a hard rock area and still be able to sink their equipment as deep as 10 metres into the ground without using explosives.

According to the reporter, the police are interested in finding out the circumstance under which the blast occurred and have invited the Chinese company that provides technical services for questioning.

The police have started meeting all the parties who may have been involved for more information about the incident.

This tragedy comes three months after some miners died at a mine in the same town. Since then mining has continued without much regulation and attention.