The Upper East Regional Security Council (REGSEC) will Thursday morning meet over a deadly mine blast in the Gbane community in the Talensi District.

The accident, which occurred Tuesday night saw the death toll rise from 12 to 16, and possibly 17, per reports Thursday morning.The people, all of whom are miners, are believed to have suffocated to death from inhaling toxic gases from a blast while underground in a mining tunnel close to another mining concession, which is serviced by a Chinese company called Shaanxi.

The regional minister, Ms. Paulina Tangoba Abayage, disclosed on 3FM’s Sunrise that leadership of the Chinese mining company and others are currently being interrogated by the police and that the REGSEC will also meet on the matter.According to her, the Chinese company has been authorized to prospect for mining as well as offer support services to two other small-scale mining companies with concessions in the same area.

She, however, sad that she could not immediately tell whether Tuesday night’s blast was a mining attempt by the Chinese company or part of its prospecting activities.

These, she said, were expected to be established after investigations.
Meanwhile, there is an ongoing blame game between the small-scale miners’ association in the Region and that of the Chinese company.

They are accusing each other of causing the death of the people.
While the Chinese company argues that it had done due diligence before the blasting activity, the small-scale miners insist they were not informed prior to the blasting, hence the deadly accident.

On the way forward, the regional minister said there have been strong recommendations to permanently seal all illegal mining pits that allow miners cross to other concessions.
But she noted, that will be in consultation with the Minerals Commission and the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry.
She also observed, residents and miners within the area need to heed to blast warnings to avert future occurrences.