The Commission of Inquiry (COI) into a deadly mining pit collapse at Rock Creek, Puruni, Region Seven, has resulted in a number of preliminary recommendations to aid with the monitoring of mining claims in the interior locations.
The COI into the circumstances which led to the death of Keon Wilson had revealed that officers from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, (GGMC) failed to ensure that the mining camp operated in keeping with all the necessary laws and regulations outlined by the commission.
Preliminary findings had outlined that, the mining camp was identified as an illegal site.
“There is no evidence at GGMC or elsewhere that supports any permission was given by the owner (George Alphonso) to Everton Daly, the mining camp operator, to mine on the said claim.“
The report outlined that Daly could not produce to GGMC officers the relevant documents to show that his dredge was licensed and registered.
The inquiry report stated further that although GGMC officers learnt that Daly’s dredge was illegal, they failed to issue him with a removal order, contrary to GGMC regulations.
The regulations make provisions for seizure of equipment in those circumstances.
Therefore, as part of the recommendations, the COI report outlined that permit holders should police their own claims to ward off illegal mining. The commission also recommended that GGMC conduct a sweep of operation and seize all illegal and unregistered dredges.
Additionally, the commission pointed out that “mines officers must conduct complete inspections when visiting the mining caps even if the camp is illegal and visit the area intended for mining operations
“Mines officers must issue and execute seize orders whenever illegal dredges operations are encountered.”
The report had outlined that “illegal dredging must be stopped immediately, because it is a clear and present danger to life and environment, since the illegal operator will be in breach of the regulations”.
It was therefore recommended that mines officers should be granted statutory powers, similar to the police officers, to enable them to execute their duties effectively.
The report said, too, that pit mining operations must have a qualified and GGMC approved engineer attached to that particular mining operation to deal with engineering safety reconstruction and managing of mine pits.
The COI into the death of Keon Wilson was headed by former Army Chief, Gary Best. The COI was set up to investigate, examine, monitor and report regimes that govern areas specifically at Rock Creek, Puruni, to determine whether there was compliance with safety operating procedures.
The inquiry was to determine whether there were breaches of any laws, regulations, rules and practices that led directly to, or contributed to the death of Wilson.
Mr. Best was also tasked with enquiring into the actions of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and to report his findings and conclusion to determine the cause of the incident and make recommendations to prevent a recurrence.
Wilson, 33, a resident of Ann’s Grove, died after a mining pit caved-in on him on October 8, 2016.
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