The explosion levels building and causes massive crater in the village. (Photo: Prestea Huni Valley Municipal Assembly)

A mining truck carrying explosives in western Ghana collided with a motorcycle on Thursday, January 20, setting off an explosion that leveled buildings, killed 13 people and injured more than 100 in the village of Apiate.

The Ghana police responded and most of the victims were rescued and sent to various hospitals and clinics within the Bogoso Municipality. The police advised residents to move out of Apiate to nearby towns. They also made an appeal to nearby towns to open up their classroom, churches, etc., to accommodate survivors. The Ghana National Fire Service, National Disaster Management Organization and the Ambulance Service remain on site to provide safety and security to the area.

The vehicle was from an explosives depot in Tarkwa that was moving to Chirano, according to the Ghana Police. The truck, owned and operated by Maxam Ghana, was hauling 10 tons of blasting agents.

Following the directive by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, the western regional inspector of mines, has in accordance with an order from the CEO of Minerals Commission, shut down operations of Maxam Co. Ltd. on January 22.

President Nana Akufo-Addo expressed his condolences and said the government “will spare no effort to ensure a rapid return to a situation of normalcy for residents of Apiate.”

Gold Fields, which owns the Tarkwa mine in that region, offered its support and said it has mobilized a number of resources, including tents, food and equipment to the community.

“We are saddened by the disaster at Apiate and have noted the devastating effect the explosion has had in the community,” Executive Vice President and Head of West Africa Joshua Mortoti said. “We offer support to authorities and the people of the community. We are ready to assist in any way we can.”