PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa home and tribal affairs department has revised the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the transportation of mining explosives in the province.

According to special secretary to the home and tribal affairs department Parwaiz Sabatkhel, the move will provide special mechanisms for monitoring the movement and use of mining explosives to ensure safe practices by the industry and end users.

“Explosives are widely used by the mining sector, which has employed the people in large numbers. We’ve revised SOPs for their safe movement and use in consultation with all stakeholders,” Mr Sabatkhel told Dawn.

Under the initiative, district explosive committees (DECs) will be formed by the relevant deputy commissioners to ‘process, monitor and control explosive-related matters’ at district level.

SOPs revised for transporting blasting material

The deputy commissioner of the respective district will be chairperson of the DEC and additional deputy commissioner secretary, while the assistant commissioner of the relevant sub-division, representatives of the police department not below the office of DSP, of the explosive department not below the basic pay scale of BPS-17, intelligence agencies and army and FC, miners, and minerals and home departments will be their members.

The committees will ascertain whether ‘explosive consumption’ by miners of active mine leases and construction (drillers) is in order and no one is using explosive without proper licence.

Under SOPs, the DEC is responsible to carry out necessary verification and clearance of all licence holders and persons appointed in charge of explosive magazines, safe handling, transportation and blasting of explosives (mine manager and shot-firers) by licence holders and keep the records of explosive materials, blasting, consumption and production of minerals.

“The random security inspections have to be conducted by the DEC or any competent person authorised by the DEC. Any observations and violations noted during the inspections, shall be communicated to the mine owner and licence holders for rectification in specific timeline. The explosive licence will be cancelled in case of failure to rectify the irregularities by mine owner and licence holder.”

According to SOPs, the third party audit of licence holders will be carried out on an annual basis for transparency as and when required by the home department. Also, it will be ensured during inspections and checking that no improvised explosive (homemade explosives) like ammonium nitrate (urea fertiliser) kaali khad is used in addition to explosives.

“The DEC will ensure that explosives are not transported in unapproved, unauthorised and hazardous packing and vehicle.”

Under revised SOPs, the end users of mining explosives are responsible for their storage and transportation up to blasting sites and that the ‘magazines’ constructed for storage should meet the specifications of the law or rules. Their locations and pictures will be shared with the DEC and uploaded on the department’s official website.

“The magazine should have lightening conductor and other precautionary measures with respect to lightening to ensure safety and avoid any untoward incident. It should have fire extinguishers to safe guard against any accidental fire hazard.

The same shall be inspected and checked regularly by mine owner and licence holder and certificate to this effect shall be sent to the DEC.”

The SOPs read that blasting had to be carried out by a competent person appointed by mine owners and managers in the presence of the representative nominated by the DECs.

They added that transportation and blasting of explosive shall only be allowed in the day time (from dawn till dusk).

“Every explosive consumption report duly signed by mine owner and manager and construction site supervisor along with thumb impression of shot-firer on the prescribed format shall be forwarded to deputy commissioner and DEC.

“All mine managers, shot firers, construction site supervisors (drilling) and mine workers shall be registered with the relevant police station and Special Branch after necessary verification and clearance from the relevant mines inspector.”

The SOPs said all mine owners, mine managers and construction site supervisors would ensure that the designated person in charge of transportation of explosive has an Android mobile with Google live location tuned on at the time of taking explosive from magazine to blasting site.

They added that the live location of the person in charge of explosive transportation would indicate the location of explosive (just before putting the explosive into its prepared blast holes) and that the mine owners should ensure that their mines have fail-safe mobile data coverage.

“During transportation of explosive by licence holders, advance intimation shall be given to the relevant district administration and police for vigilance during transportation.”

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2022

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