25 mining deaths in twelve months

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The body of one of the miners being pulled from the pit during a recent accident [GGDMA Photo]
Minister Raphael Trotman pays rapt attention as acting Commissioner, GGMC, Newell Dennison presents the draft plan.
Minister Raphael Trotman pays rapt attention as acting Commissioner, GGMC, Newell Dennison presents the draft plan.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The recently concluded Inquiry into the mining sector has revealed that 25 persons have been killed while working in the sector as a direct result of work place accidents.

This is according to a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency which detailed a recent meeting that Governance Minister Raphael Trotman held with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to discuss the findings.

The COI was set up and mandated to investigate mining deaths by President David Granger after a mining pit at Mowasi, Region 7 collapsed on May 17, killing 10 miners, in what has been described as the worst accident of its kind to date.

According to the press statement, the inquiry “revealed that 25 deaths have been recorded in 16 accidents within the past 12 months; 75 per cent of which were due to the collapse of mining pits.”

The main contributing factor in the pit failure accidents was the neglect of safe mining practices. In addition there was evidence that shortcuts were being taken in an effort to raise production.  

It has also been noted in the report that from 2010 to 2015, a total of 62 miners, particularly young men, have died in the industry.  

Acting Commissioner, GGMC, Mr. Newell Dennison
Acting Commissioner, GGMC, Mr. Newell Dennison

The COI also found that there is a laidback culture to safety and as such, clear rules must be applied and enforced.

Meanwhile, a draft plan of action was presented by acting Commissioner of the GGMC, Newell Dennison and included strategies for Occupational Health and Safety. It includes plans for collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection, improvement at the technical levels, continuous and systematic training, enhancement of education and instituting a certification requirement for the General Managers of the mining operations, and public and miners’ education.

Minister Trotman told the delegation that the meeting was not called to lay blame at any one agency or party but to collectively solve a crisis, which is of utmost concern to the President and the Government of Guyana.

A recent mining accident
A recent mining accident

He told the GGMC delegation that while it is virtually impossible for accidents and mishaps to be eradicated, there must be no excuses for the current number of accidents and deaths and these must be brought to a minimum.

He acknowledged that the work to be done would require additional resources to be given to the GGMC and as such, he will be looking to increase their budget allocation.  

He also committed to exploring the setting up of a Court, which will deal exclusively with mining related matters so that these cases can be expedited, saving the GGMC valuable time and resources. He however highlighted the importance of GGMC utilizing other forms of dispute resolution so as to ensure the swiftest protection of the rights of all parties involved.

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