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Guyana: Search continues for bauxite mine worker

March 14, 2023
(Photo: CMC)

CMC — The Chinese-owned BOSAI Minerals has suspended operations as the search continues for Neptrid Hercules, who went missing following an accident at the mines over the last weekend.

Residents of Linden, Region 10 picketed the office of bauxite mining company, BOSAI Minerals, calling for a complete halt to operations until the missing employee is located.

Hercules, who has been employed as an operator with the company for the last 40 years, was reported missing in the early hours of Saturday and is now feared dead after a plot of land he was working on swallowed him and the bulldozer he was operating.

Media reports said Hercules, who was set to retire later this year, and the bulldozer are believed to be trapped several feet beneath the ground.

A government delegation including Prime Minister retired Brigadier Mark Phillips, Minister of Public Works Bishop Juan Edghill, and Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, visited Region 10 on Monday, where they were briefed by the management on the matter.

“This is a fact-finding mission as to what occurred in the East Montgomery mines very early on Saturday morning. We had a briefing from the management of BOSAI and an opportunity to meet and interact with the family of Mr. Hercules. We made some assurances to the family as well as give some directives to BOSAI’s management, Prime Minister Phillips said.

He said immediately after the incident, a search and rescue operation was launched and remains in force.

“I know that there were some concerns that in the evening the search was suspended and that was purely based on the safety concerns for the search party. It was suspended late at night because we have been advised by the competent authority and agencies such as the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) that we should suspend the search ,” Phillips said.

The Public Works Minister said that “what is clear is that BOSAI has suspended all operations in the mines and all the manpower that is available are on site.

“This is to ensure that the search and rescue remains on-going without interruptions. Secondly, it is still and active search and rescue operation and we need to emphasise that and we have communicated that to the family.”

Edghill said that the search and rescue team and management of BOSAI remain committed to the operation given the relationship many shared with Hercules over the years as colleagues.

“This is not a matter that we are taking lightly…we will ensure that everything is done to make sure that we move forward with what needs to be done …We will strengthen our regulatory systems in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, which has been on site since day one,” added Bharrat.

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