Burkina Faso: Mining Boss Fined $3k, Given 24-Month Prison Sentence Over Deaths Of Miners
The director of a mine in Burkina Faso has been found guilty of manslaughter, following a flooding disaster in April that killed eight miners. Hein Frey, of Canadian company Trevali, was fined $3,000 (£2,600) and given a suspended 24-month prison sentence. The incident caused outrage in the country at the time. The verdict
has been met with shock, with some in Burkina Faso seeing the sentence as lenient, given the number of victims. A second executive, Daryl Christensen, an Australian national working with Trevali’s contractor Byrnecut, was handed a 12-month suspended sentence and fined $1,500. Frey, from South Africa, was found
guilty of involuntary manslaughter but acquitted on charges of illegal mining activities, failure to comply with regulations on occupational health and safety in mines, endangering the lives of others and failure to assist a person in danger. Trevali has issued a statement but did not comment on the sentences. It said it was still
negotiating with the authorities to resume mining at the Perkoa zinc mine. The trial began on 24 August following a complaint by the families of the miners from Burkina Faso. The eight miners were working at a depth of more than 500m when they became trapped by torrential rain in April. In less than an hour, 125mm of rain fell - five
times the average monthly amount. Despite frantic rescue efforts, it took until late May for the first bodies of the miners to be recovered from the mine, which lies about 100km (60 miles) west of the capital, Ouagadougou. In June, the last body was recovered, following some 66 days of searching. There was
controversy at the time of the incident, with rescue operations only getting under way following protests and a sit-in at a government building at a nearby town five days after the floods.