Rainy season contributing to overly-saturated, unstable mining areas

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
A mining pit cave-in [File Photo]

The current rainy season is contributing to overly-saturated and unstable mining areas and as such, operators need to take extra precautions during this period.

This warning was issued on Tuesday by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) in light of continued mining-related incidents, including fatalities.

The Natural Resources Ministry and GGMC issued a statement on Tuesday noting that in miners’ quest for financial gain and economic development, the importance of adequate safety measures should not, and must not, be overshadowed by the desire to achieve financial gain.

Specifically, the statement emphasised that special note must be taken of the fact that recent rainfall has contributed to hazardous conditions in mining areas as they become oversaturated, and therein unstable.

This, the Ministry said, underscores the critical importance of stringent safety measures, and the requirement for more restraint and caution to be exercised.

The GGMC said it remained committed to working with miners and providing guidance to improve safe mining practices, and a collaborative approach must be continued by all stakeholders, to sensitise and educate miners about the need for safe mining practices.

Among these practices is the need for enhanced vigilance wherein there is continuous monitoring of the mining area and for operators and workers to be alert to changing conditions.

According to the GGMC, heavy rainfall can quickly alter the stability of mining slopes and faces. In this regard, the importance of regular site assessments was also underscored.

The statement outlined that operators should regularly conduct thorough assessments of mining sites, especially after heavy rains, to identify and address potential hazards such as landslides, flooding, and erosion.

Miners were also reminded to ensure that all safety equipment was in proper working order and that all personnel were trained in its use. Additionally, they were encouraged to maintain open lines of communication with GGMC officers and other relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, the Ministry contended that while focus was on mitigating risks during the ongoing rainy season, safety practices must be reinforced and maintained year-round, to prevent accidents and guard against the loss of lives.