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Miner killed during pit cave-in at illegal mine

An 18-year old man was Monday afternoon killed after a mining pit at an illegal operation caved in on him, authorities said.

Police identified him as Trenston Sebastian of Kurukubaru, Region 8.

The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission said the incident occurred in the Konawaruk area Mining District 2 at a mining pit that was operating without approval. “It was also reported that the dredge was operating on property without permission and for which an order to cease work (CWO) was issued,” the regulatory agency said in a statement.

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 3:15 PM on March 14, 2016 a pit cave-in occurred while a dredge purportedly owned by a Sherwin Grenada was operating.

The mining accident occurred the same day that the GGMC wrapped up the first phase of a geo-technical engineering training workshop involving some 20 technical officers, who over the past six weeks were exposed to applied aspects of ground structural phenomenon, 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.

The GGMC said many of those technical 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.

The GGMC says the accident comes at a time when as recently as the second week in February 2016 there was a GGMC conducted Mines Safety Compliance Tour in the Potaro and Konawaruk areas.

According to the GGMC, several CWOs were issued due to unsafe operations in the Mahdia Redhole, Whitehole and St. Elizabeth areas.

Despite regulatory compliance tours i by GGMC officers in n areas such as in the Cuyuni District, the regulatory agency says “miners continued to have a casual attitude to safe mines practices.”