At least 17 dead after explosion in Ghana’s mining region

ACCRA, Jan 21 (Reuters) – At least 17 people were killed and dozens injured when a truck carrying explosives to a gold mine in western Ghana collided with a motorbike, triggering an explosion that razed a rural community, the government announced on Friday.

As rescuers searched the site for survivors, videos posted to local media showed hundreds of buildings reduced to piles of wood, rubble and twisted metal, and corpses slumped on the ground surrounded by debris.

A photo shared by a local politician showed a gaping crater at the epicenter of the blast, with onlookers watching from its rim.

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Seji Saji Amedonu, deputy director general of the National Disaster Management Organization, said around 500 buildings were destroyed and rescue efforts were still ongoing.

The explosion occurred in Apiate, a settlement between the towns of Bogoso and Bawdie, on Thursday when a motorbike fell under a truck belonging to a company called Maxam which was transporting explosives to the Chirano gold mine, led by Toronto-based Kinross Gold Corporation (K.TO), police said. Read more

Kinross confirmed the incident and said it was monitoring the situation and rescue efforts. Maxam could not be reached for comment.

The Department of Lands and Natural Resources is investigating the cause of the blast and whether the companies involved complied with regulations for transporting explosives, it said in a statement.

Survivors in critical condition are being evacuated to medical facilities in the capital Accra, the government said.

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Reporting by Christian Akorlie and Cooper Inveen Writing by Nellie Peyton Editing by David Goodman, Frank Jack Daniel and John Stonestreet

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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