Teen killed as mining pit caves in at Konawaruk

– Committee of Inquiry launched into death

In yet another mining accident, a teenager was on Sunday afternoon killed after a mining pit in which he was working caved in. The tragedy occurred at a mining pit in the Konawaruk Backdam, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).

The dead teenager was identified as Ramal Williams, 18, of 58 Miles Mabura Road, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice). According to reports, the teenager, along with others, was working in the pit when it suddenly gave way. The others reportedly ran to safety, but Williams was trapped by the soil.

After some time, his motionless body was pulled from the pit and taken to the Mahdia Hospital where doctors confirmed his death. An investigation has since been launched into the incident.

The Natural Resources Ministry in a release stated that it was saddened by the unfortunate death of the teenager.

As such, Minister within the Natural Resources Ministry, Simona Broomes has been tasked with the responsibility of visiting the area to ascertain the circumstances leading to the death of the young miner.

Broomes’ team will include representatives of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC). In addition, a Committee of Inquiry will also be launched to fully investigate the matter within the next 72 hours.

The Ministry also expressed its condolences to the family, colleagues, and friends of Williams.

Williams is the second teen to have died in a mining pit collapse this year at Konawaruk. In March of this year, 19-year-old Trenton Sebastian of Kurukubaru, was killed at Konawaruk, Mahdia Backdam, after the mining pit in which he was working collapsed, pinning him under slush.

It was reported that Sebastian and four other miners were washing the walls of the mine while other miners were simultaneously clearing the area of trees, when one of the walls of the pit caved in.

Region Eight has seen its fair share of deadly mining pit collapses over the years. A mining pit collapse at Mowasi Backdam, which claimed the lives of 10 miners back in May 2015, led President David Granger to establish a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to probe mining accidents.

The CoI report highlighted that there have been over a 15-month period, 28 deaths, most of them a result of pit cave-ins. It revealed that from 2012 to 2015, 62 miners, mostly young men, lost their lives on the job.

These accidents were said to have been caused by negligence, especially with regard to safe mining practices, including shortcuts taken by workers, who sometimes treasured their finds over their own lives. The CoI determined there was a pervading culture of laxness towards safety, and that clear rules must be applied and enforced.