Natural Resources Ministry to launch inquiry into latest mining pit death

Expressing concern over the persistence of unsafe practices carried out by mining firms, the Ministry of Natural Resources announced that it would launched a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the latest mining death.

Keon Wilson of 61 Ann’s Grove Housing Scheme, East Coast Demerara died on Saturday in a mining incident at Rock Creek, Puruni, Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni).

Stabroek News was told that the 33-year-old father of two died after a pit he was working caved in, covering him with mud.

Keon Wilson
Keon Wilson

In a statement issued yesterday, the Natural Resources Ministry said it would be launching a CoI “to fully investigate the matter, to recommend actions to be taken in the event of any negligence and to prevent a recurrence.”

The ministry also said it would be hastening plans for the deployment of wardens who will have law enforcement powers to better police the sector.

According to the press statement, all miners are reminded to conduct their activities responsibly and adopt the highest standards of safety in keeping with the laws of Guyana.

The statement also said that miners can access guidance, training and other support to miners to improve safety practices in the field, through the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and the Mining School.

Wilson’s sister Mona (only name given) had told Stabroek News that she received a phone call around 5 pm on Saturday, informing that there was a cave-in and Wilson had been covered by the mud.

At around 10 pm, the sister explained, an official from the company her brother was working with called and confirmed his death. His body is at the Bartica Hospital awaiting a post-mortem examination.

Mona told this newspaper that her brother had been a miner for eight years. She said that he had only returned to the interior a month ago, and started working with a new firm. She disclosed that her son also worked with the same company but had returned home on Friday.

According to the woman she gathered from her son that the working conditions were poor.

On assuming office, the APNU+AFC government had commissioned an inquiry into pit collapses and its findings were released.

The move came after 10 miners died in a pit collapse in May of last year at Konawaruk. Steps were to have been taken to avoid recurrences but deaths have continued.

In March of this year, the government ordered an independent inquiry into the death of Trentan Sebastion, 19, a pitman after a cave-in at Konawak, Mahdia.

Over the years the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission have been pressing for greater mines safety.

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