Mining explosives manufacturer AECI has called for the formation of an Association of Explosives Manufacturers to aid regulation and peer review, in light of the recent spate of explosives disasters in the mining industry.
Speaking to Citi News in Tarkwa during AECI’s 30th Anniversary, Anglophone West Africa Operations and Engineering Manager Akwasi Amoako-Kankam said that such an association could provide a code of ethics, ensure that explosives are manufactured according to the latest standards, and extend training programs to distributors and quarry users.
“The first thing is that we as explosive manufacturers should form an association. Currently, we don’t have any association, we are just independent. So we need to form an association and give ourselves some code of ethics and then we manufacture according to the standards that we have prescribed among ourselves so that we provide emotions, explosives and accessories which are of the latest technology even if when the explosion wants to occur like we have put in fire suppression systems in systems on the vans, it will be able to minimise.
“Also, we should be able to extend our training programmes to distributors and the quarry users. This is important because what happened in Shama was more of not adhering to certain safety precautions; that you are not supposed to store explosives in a house and that might be the reason why that explosion occurred which we lost some people,” he urged.
Amoako-Kankam also highlighted AECI’s experience and commitment to safety, noting that the company has developed environmentally friendly electronic detonators that minimize the impact of blasting on the environment and communities.
“Ever since we started operating like 30 years ago, we’ve impacted almost all the mining companies in the country and we’ve even gone beyond to the West African countries. We have established companies in Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal and Guinea. We have helped and partnered with the mining companies that we work with to unearth the world that they have to create their operations.
“What we do is that we provided blasting solutions and we designed a blasting. What we developed, is what we call electronic detonators in which the impact that people have in other blasting operations, will not destroy the environment, it will not break the buildings and it will not even shake the foundation of the area, so people will have their peace to sleep.“, he noted.
Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality Chief Executive Benjamin Kesse commended AECI for its high standards but expressed concern about other operators whose blasting activities have been disruptive to communities.
He called on these companies to find ways to minimize the noise, dust, and other nuisances associated with blasting.
“Most of the people experience some kind of shake-ups in their structures. You see cracks in their buildings. If you come to AngloGold, the people of Tebrebe mostly complain of blasting, excessive sound and noise. What we are asking these explosive companies to do, is to find innovative ways to minimize the accompanied disasters with blasting especially the noise, the emission of the fuse and dust into the atmosphere.
For us, when it comes to AECI, we don’t hear of them disturbing public peace or disturbing the environment with their blasting but so we ask them to advance the course and continue to exhibit that kind of professionalism so they can contain the nuisance associated with blasting. AECI is 30 years today and it is good we are celebrating them. We ask that they do more, keep their business and keep their work force as well as even employ more for the youth”, he said.
Anglophone West Africa Managing Director Johan Duvenhage attributed AECI’s 30 years of success in Ghana to its commitment to professionalism, respect for standards, and peaceful relationships with workers and communities.