Gold miner mulls future of Barama operation
After brutal attack on dredge…
A week after gunmen killed his manager and badly wounded another employee, dredge owner Morris Hopkinson is unsure whether he should pull his operation out of the Barama River where the brutal slaying occurred.
Hopkinson, who runs the Hopkinson Mining Enterprise in Bartica, is at present in Georgetown looking into the welfare of survivor, Malvin Edwards, and the family of slain 39-year-old Regerton Simon.
He told Kaieteur News yesterday that he has made no decision yet on the future of his Barama operation, in which he has already invested heavily.
“I spent millions to go in and to come out of the area would be hard.”
But the dredge owner added that after the attack, it may be challenging to find a crew that would be willing to work in the area.
He disclosed that the Brazilians who were on the dredge when the shooting occurred want to continue working for him, but indicated that they wanted to work in an area other than in the Barama River.
If he opts to remain there, Hopkinson said he will try to employ armed guards to watch over his operation.
Reports suggest that the attack on Hopkinson’s dredge was carried out by persons who were upset at the presence of his dredge in the Barama River.
Hopkinson had revealed that he had shifted his dredge to its present location after a Toushou had expressed similar concern.
But the miner told Kaieteur News that he is using a new type of dredge that does not pollute the waters.
Hopkinson said that unlike land dredges which destroy trees, erode the river banks and pollute the water, his dredge pulls sand from the river bed.
In addition, he said that no mercury or human waste is deposited into the river.
Regerton Simon, Malvin Edwards and four Brazilians were on the dredge at around noon on September 5 when they were allegedly shot by the occupants of a passing boat.
Simon, called ‘Baba’, succumbed from a shotgun blast to the chest.
Malvin Edwards, a welder, was struck with gunshot pellets to the head, chest and right arm.
He also suffered a punctured lung and is being treated at the Georgetown Hospital. His condition has improved but he still has some difficulty speaking
although he is responding to family members.
According to his mother, Donna Hinds, Edwards is eating and sitting up, things he was unable to do when he was admitted.
However, he still has a tube in his abdomen to assist him to breath.
The woman said that although her son is in a lot of pain he is grateful to be alive.
The woman is not sure when the miner will be transferred to the open ward but she is hopeful it will be soon.
Edwards had earlier related in writing that he was in the upper section of the dredge, and his manager and three Brazilians were on the bottom flat when he heard several explosive sounds.
He was shot and knocked unconscious when he rushed outside to investigate.
Edwards stated that when he eventually recovered, he was lying on the floor and bleeding.
Nevertheless, he crawled in search of the GM and eventually found Simon lying dead on the floor in a pool of blood.
According to his report, he did not see the four Brazilians who were working on the dredge.
Kaieteur News was told that the Brazilians fled to another camp and informed the owner of the attack. They were then transported to the Port Kaituma Police Station.
Police said that ranks who visited the scene found the production money and equipment on the dredge intact.
Regerton Simon, who is survived by his wife, Jewel Simon and two teenage daughters, was laid to rest on Thursday.
Police officials said that ranks who have gone into the area have been provided with the names of the persons suspected to have carried out the attack.