Three miners died last week in Ghana after inhaling toxic fumes while underground.
According to a spokesman from the company, Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd., the dead were among 17 people who had to be rescued and taken to hospital after breathing fumes in an underground gold mine. The company, a subsidiary of China Gold Resources, has launched an investigation but revealed that “those affected were two groups of underground “cleaners” tasked with cleaning rock particles after blasting in the mine,” as reported by Yahoo News.
The company spokesman said it is the first time it has suffered an accident of this nature and that it strictly adheres to mining regulations and safety standards for the last five or six years it has been operating the mine, according to Yahoo.
Ghana, Africa’s second largest gold producer, has faced a serious problem with respect to illegal mining. In 2010 around 45 people were killed when an illegal gold mine collapsed after heavy rains, adding to at least 18 people who died in 2009. At its peak, an estimated 50,000 foreign workers, mainly Chinese, were operating unlawfully in the country. This prompted the government to create a taskforce in 2013 to tackle the subject, and so avoid tension-generating issues, such as the massive deportation of almost two hundred Chinese nationals.
But illicit operations continue to be a major problem in the Ashanti and Eastern regions of the country.