Burkina Faso rescuers find no survivors in flood mine’s rescue chamber

The Perkoa mine, owned by Canadian company Trevali Mining Corp (TV.TO) and located about 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the capital Ouagadougou, sank abruptly on April 16 after torrential rain that fell unexpectedly during the dry season. country.

There was a faint hope during a month-long search and rescue operation that the missing could reach the food and water rescue chamber, which is about 570 meters below the ground.

“Rescue teams have opened the shelter, unfortunately it is empty,” the government intelligence service said in a statement posted on social media.

Trevali said the shelter was found intact and it was now clear that none of the eight missing had reached him.

“This is devastating news and we would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of our colleagues during this difficult time,” Ricus Grimbeek, President and CEO of Trevali, said in a statement.

“We will continue our search efforts unabated and reaffirm our commitment to work at full speed to find our colleagues.”

The disturbed relatives of the missing gather daily at the site in Shanghai province, seeking solace from each other as they face the anxious wait for news.

Fatal mining accidents are common in Africa. The Perkoa floods have garnered more attention than many hoped, albeit remotely, for an outcome similar to the dramatic 2010 rescue in Chile of 33 miners who had spent 69 days underground – but should not have been.

Complex operation

Both the company and the government have launched investigations into the causes of the disaster. The prime minister said on May 2 that miners had been barred from leaving the country.

The Perkoa mine consists of an open pit with underground wells and galleries below. Most of the workers who were there at the time of the flood managed to escape, but the eight missing were more than 520 meters (1,706 feet) below the surface.

Six of the missing are nationals of Burkina Faso, one from Tanzania and one from Zambia.

With many in Burkina Faso asking why it took so long to get to the rescue and criticism of the company and state emergency services, Trevali said the technical challenges were enormous.

The intensity of the flood was such that it swept away the road leading down to the mine as well as the power supply was destroyed. The road had to be resurfaced and the power supply restored before a full investigation could begin.

Initially, the equipment was transported on foot, but vehicles were needed to install machines capable of pumping water from depths below 500 meters.

Rescuers have pumped about 55 million liters of flood water, out of a total of 165 million liters estimated to have swept the underground part of the mine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.