Minister Trotman receives CoI report into recent mining pit collapse

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  • disappointed by continued negligence leading to loss of life in the mining sector

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, today received the final report of the Committee of Inquiry (CoI) which was completed by Major General (retd) Joe Singh into the collapse of a mining pit at Konawaruk, Mahdia, Potaro mining district #2, leading to the death of 18 year old miner, Reynold Williams on May 29, 2016.

Minister Trotman receiving the COI report from Major General (rtd) Joe Singh
Minister Trotman receiving the COI report from Major General (rtd) Joe Singh

The report was handed over to Minister Trotman after a discussion of the main findings and concerns that emerged from the CoI, which found that negligence was the principle cause of the collapse leading to the young miner’s death.

The report’s findings highlight a worrying trend of negligence and recklessness that is being replicated among other medium and small scale mining operations and the grave risks these present to the lives of miners working on properties where safe mining practices are not being adhered to. Some of these include lack of contingency plans for safety and rescue, poorly trained personnel and lack of basic supplies to respond to injuries.

It noted that these unsafe practices, which have a ripple effect on families, communities, the sector and the country as a whole can no longer be condoned at any level, and recommends that measures be put in place immediately to curb these actions.

Minister Trotman expressed his gratitude for the efforts of Major General (rtd) Joe Singh and his team which included members from the environmental unit of the GGMC, in completing the CoI but noted that he receives the report with a heavy heart since its findings glaringly expose the magnitude and depth of work to be done to bring the mining sector back into good repute starting with the awareness among current miners about the basics of mining.

He noted that stricter enforcement of existing laws, the use of drone technology along with training and stricter conditions for the issuance of permits need to be incorporated. Considering the findings of committees of inquiries conducted over the past year, the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Natural Resources has adopted a zero tolerance approach to unsafe mining practices and will shortly be putting measures in place to hold property owners accountable for actions perpetrated on their properties.

Unsafe acts that lead to injury and/or the loss of lives will not be condoned at any level within the mining sector. Consultations with stakeholders will commence soon. Minister Trotman has spoken to the mother of Reynold Williams and expressed condolences on behalf of the Government of Guyana whilst assuring her that the death of her son will not be forgotten.

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