Burkina Faso: two Trevali leaders found guilty after the Perkoa tragedy

(Agence Ecofin) – Last April, eight workers disappeared at the Perkoa zinc mine, after a flood. After weeks of searching, rescuers found their dead bodies. Dispatched to the scene, the Prime Minister questioned the responsibility of the leaders and promised justice to the victims.

In Burkina Faso, Hein Frey and Daryl Christensen, two senior executives linked to the Canadian Trevali Mining, have just been found guilty of manslaughter by the Koudougou High Court, learned theEcofin Agency from sources familiar with the matter.

The first cited, managing director of Nantou Mining, a local subsidiary of Trevali, was given a 24-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 2 million FCFA (about $3,000). The second, director of the local subsidiary of Byrnecut, a subcontractor of Trevali, received a 12-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 1 million FCFA ($1,500).

The two men were being prosecuted before the Burkinabe courts for various charges, including those of violation of the regulations relating to health at work in the mines, endangering the person of others and failure to assist a person in danger, after the deaths of eight workers at the Perkoa zinc mine last April.

The eight miners were at underground facilities when they were trapped by flooding following heavy rains in the area. Weeks of searching have unfortunately failed to find them alive. According to Prime Minister Albert Ouédraogo, “What happened is the result of a certain irresponsibility of those responsible for the mine“, following various blasting operations that took place on the open pit mine a few days before the tragedy.

In court, the Public Prosecutor also mentioned a modification of the underground pit to a greater depth than that provided for in the initial plans sent to the authorities.

As a reminder, the Perkoa mine has been shut down since the tragedy, after a production of 161 million pounds of zinc in 2021. Its Canadian owner has since faced financial difficulties which have forced him to launch a backup plan. and to suspend trading of its shares on the stock exchange.

Emiliano Tossou

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Burkina Faso: two Trevali leaders found guilty after the Perkoa tragedy