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Shama quarry explosion: What we know so far



Initial reports of the explosion painted a picture of a situation that was not looking so good.

And when the actual details on what had happened started trickling in, it gave some more credence to the damaging extent of the catastrophe.

Here are some of the details GhanaWeb has gathered so far on the explosion:

The explosion happened at a quarry believed to be owned by a Chinese company, known as Omni Quarries.

The quarry is located at Shama, in the Western Region.

The explosion is said to have happened at a community called Anto-Aboso, in the Shama District.

Accounts say that the explosion happened between the night of Saturday, September 9, and Sunday, night. Tentatively, the explosion happened at midnight, or as reports, at 12 a.m.

The disaster came about as a result of an ammonia nitrate explosion.

Four people are reported to have been killed.

Reports say some Ghanaian and Chinese nationals working on a night shift were part of those involved in the explosion.

The explosives were reportedly being kept in an unstructured storage without a permit.

The ammonia nitrate detonated and killed some of the workers.

At the scene of the explosion, blood stains could be seen, reports said.

Buildings around the explosion were also destroyed.

As of the time of reporting the explosion, GhanaWeb learnt that personnel from the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana National Fire Service had arrived at the site, working to control the situation.

Some victims of the explosion were said to have been missing.

Statement from the Minerals Commission on what happened:

The Western Regional Head of the Minerals Commission at Takoradi (the “Commission”) was notified by the Assemblyman of the Anto-Abosso area in the Shama District at about 11.50pm on 9th September 2023, regarding an explosion at a quarry site.

A team of Mine Inspectors from the Takoradi Office of the Commission arrived at the site of the explosion at about 6.45 am on 10th September 2023. The area of the explosion is about 1.5 km away from the nearest settlement, Kobenandohkrom.

The inspectors were joined by officials from other State institutions comprising NADMO, Environmental Protection Agency, The Ghana Fire Service, Ambulance Service, the Ghana Police Service and officials from the Shama District Assembly to inspect the site.

The Commission, after the preliminary investigations can confirm that the site of the explosion is a subject of an application by a company with the name Sta Addsams Enterprise. The company has applied for a Restricted Mining Lease for granite commonly referred to as a quarry. The recommendation for the company to be considered for the grant of a formal lease was granted on 20th March 2023. At the time of the explosion, the company has not not issued a lease by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.

Secondly, the site of the explosion is the residential facilities for the company. This included buildings and containerized structures. The inspectors also found at the site, empty drums believed to have contained diesel, other lubricants, cigarette pieces, oxy-acetylene cylinders were found at the scene.

Additionally, all the facilities including light vehicles and equipment close to the residential structures on site were destroyed and five (5) persons are confirmed dead and some injured persons were sent to various hospitals within Sekondi-Takoradi for treatment.

The administrator of the enterprise informed the inspectors that the company was working at night ostensibly to prevent them from being noticed by the inspectors of the Commission and the local task force comprising the police and members of the sand winners and quarry Association.

A routine monitoring visit by the inspectors from the Takoradi Office to the site revealed that the enterprise was engaged in site cleaning and preparatory works and had conducted run of the machines and equipment on site without the approval of the Commission.

The enterprise was therefore notified by the inspectors that such activities are illegal and was directed to cease any activity on the site until the lease is granted and all other permits and approvals for the storage, transportation and use of any substance to undertake operations are obtained.

In this regard, pending the completion of a full investigation into the cause of the explosion, the enterprise had no lease, approval or permit to undertake any activity or operation at the site.

Consequently, the activity of the enterprise was illegal. The Commission wishes to remind the media and the public that the Inspectorate Division is committed to ensuring that all quarry sites are licensed and all the requisite approvals and permits are obtained before operations are undertaken.


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