Rescue Workers Race to Save Eight Miners Trapped in Burkina Faso

Rescue workers are racing against the clock to save eight miners who have been trapped for two weeks in a Canadian-operated mine in Burkina Faso.

Trevali Mining Corp. announced on April 16 that eight miners, six from Burkina, a Zambian and a Tanzanian were missing following a “flood” underground at a zinc mine at Perkoa, 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the capital Ouagadougou.

A rescue operation was launched immediately with the help of the fire brigade and military engineers while rescue efforts have focused on trying to pump out the floodwater, which followed heavy rain.

Prime Minister Albert Ouedraogo, in a visit to the site at the weekend, blamed “irresponsibility” by those in charge at the mine.

He alleged that several days before the accident “dynamite was used on the open-air (part of the) mine, which weakened the (underground) gallery and enabled the flooding.”

Ouedraogo said there would be an inquiry to find out who was responsible. Mine officials would not be allowed to leave the country in the meanwhile, he added.

The families of six miners have filed cases against persons unknown for attempted manslaughter, endangering life and failing to assist a person in danger.

The fate of the miners has lit up social networks with calls for solidarity and efforts to save the men.

Mining activities at Perkoa, Burkina Faso’s sole zinc mine, have been halted.

Vancouver-based Trevali is a metals mining company with four production operations, in Canada, Peru, Namibia and Burkina.

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