GUYANA – Buried alive
Teenaged mineworker dies in cave-in
GEORGETOWN –– The country’s regulator of the mining sector is upset with the casual attitude of some miners when it comes to safety.
The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) made this assertion yesterday, following news that yet another mineworker had perished in a pit cave-in.
This time, the incident occurred in the Konawaruk area Mining District 2 in Region Eight.
While GGMC did not immediately provide a name, it is reported the victim is 19-year-old Trenton Sebastian.
“Details are still to be confirmed about the exact nature of the accident, but at the time of this statement, reports reaching the GGMC stated that at approximately 15:15 hrs on March 14 [Monday], 2016, a pit cave-in occurred while a dredge purportedly owned by a Sherwin Grenada was operating.”
The commission said that efforts were being made to recover the body of the deceased.
A team of GGMC officials and police reportedly travelled to the area to conduct investigations.
It was also reported that the dredge was operating on property without permission and for which a cease work order (CWO) was issued.
GGMC said this latest accident came at a time when as recently as the second week in February it had conducted a mines safety compliance tour in the Potaro and Konawaruk areas.
Several CWOs were issued due to unsafe operations in the Mahdia Redhole, Whitehole and St Elizabeth areas.
GGMC said that this unfortunate occurrence also comes at a time when GGMC had a wrap-up on March 14, 2016, of a first phase geotechnical engineering training workshop involving some 20 technical officers, who over the past six weeks were exposed to applied aspects of ground structural phenomenon.
The training, the commission said, was geared to equip the officers so that they would be better equipped to objectively identify operational issues that could be hazardous in mining; better tooled to work with miners to effect safer solutions; and more proficient at advocating to miners operational awareness for better technical approaches.
Many of those same officers were involved in a training of trainers workshop in collaboration with CIRDI /IDB at Linden R&D, and in Mahdia, where aspects of occupation safety and health were on the table, along with mining efficiency and such, also involving mining stakeholders.
“This unfortunate accident brings to the forefront that even in the last quarter of 2015, after the horrific Mowasi accident, investigations by GGMC officers on regulatory compliance tours in areas such as in the Cuyuni District, miners continued to have a casual attitude to safe mines practices,” the commission complained.
The GGMC said it was offering regrets and sympathy to the relatives and friends of the deceased.
Shortly after taking office last May, the David Granger-led administration faced a tough baptism with news that ten miners were killed in Mowasi, Region Eight in a pit cave-in.
A commission of inquiry was announced into mining deaths with a report saying that 28 persons had died over a 15-month period.
Several recommendations were made to improve safety, including sensitization.