… As Shaanxi Continues To Grind Souls Of Ghanaians
For whatever considerations or motivation, government institutions charged with the oversight responsibility in the mining sector appears to have turned a blind eye and deaf ears to the barrage of media reportage on Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited’s(SMGL) bad mining practices and irregularities which has led to the deaths of some twenty Ghanaians in three different mining accidents this year alone.
Shaanxi is a Chinese company doing small scale mining in the Talensi District on behalf of two small scale mining companies called Pubortaaba & Yenyeya Mining Group.
In January this year 2019, Shaanxi’s mine-blast killed seventeen Ghanaians and injured several others. About three weeks ago, it was widely reported on the front pages of newspapers including the Daily Graphic and the online portals that a cave-in at the Shaanxi mining site has killed two Ghanaian workers and others injured. Over the weekend, another two workers were crushed underground leading to the death of one and leaving the other in a very critical condition. The latter has been transferred from the Bolgatanga hospital to the Tamale General Hospital but a source at the Bolga hospital intimated that it will take a miracle for the victim to survive because all his ribs are broken.
The latest mining accident raises the official death toll recorded at Shaanxi Mines to 34 so far according to the Chief Crime Officer in the Talensi district, Chief Superintendent Sampson Agbeko.
However, some of the locals still argue that the death toll is 67 now because they claim, while some died on-the-spot when the accidents occur, others survive the poisonous gases they inhale under the pit for a day or two before they die at home and they are normally not reported or made known to the police.
Readers will also recall that on the 10th of August 2017, when Shaanxi’s mine blast killed some seven miners, the then sector minister, John Peter Amewu was very angry when he announced that he was going to shut down Shaanxi only for him to visit the site and turn around to rather ask the Chinese to come for proper license as was captured on the front page of the Daily
Graphic titled “STOP THE GALAMSEY AND COME FOR PROPER LICENSE – AMEWU TELLS SHAANXI”. In fact, when the government of Ghana banned galamsey and all forms of small scale mining activities in the country, it was Shaanxi who was the only small scale company who mined throughout the ban under the authorization of the ‘powerful’ hand of Mr. Peter Amewu.
With regards to the 17 killed on the 19th of January this year, the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources’ (MLNR) own commissioned investigative report found Shaanxi guilty on five different counts of bad practices and negligence and were fined a total of $50,000($10,000 for each count) and then they asked the Chinese to go back to work with no recommendations for compensation for the deceased family.
In some jurisdictions, Shaanxi would have been shut down a long time ago and their officials prosecuted because they are supposed to be a mining company not a killing machine. It is quite surprising however that in spite of all these killings, the Chinese continue to work as though the Ghanaian life is just worth a bottle of juice.
On the 19th of February this year, in Tanzania, a Chinese business woman Yang Fenglan, (nicknamed ‘Ivory Queen’) was sentenced to 15 years in jail for killing elephants for their tusk.
Stay tuned for how CEO of Minerals Commission has refused to release finished report or answers on questionnaire bothering on Shaanxi’s irregular activities.