Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Siblings die in Ratanakkiri gold mine accident

Siblings die in Ratanakkiri gold mine accident

The mine shaft into which two gold miners fell and died when a piece of equipment broke on Friday in Ratanakkiri province.
The mine shaft into which two gold miners fell and died when a piece of equipment broke on Friday in Ratanakkiri province. Photo supplied

Siblings die in Ratanakkiri gold mine accident

Two siblings, including one teenager under the legal working age, died on Friday at a mine belonging to Indian firm Mesco Gold in Ratanakkiri province, prompting the Ministry of Mines and Energy to immediately suspend operations to carry out an investigation, officials said yesterday.

Sen Voeun, Yatung commune police chief in O’Yadav district, identified the victims as Chak Sarith, 17, and Chak Sarom, 20. The brothers from Tbong Khmum province had only been working for the company for a week.

They went down a mine shaft in a bucket, which the minstry said was designed to carry rocks, not workers. When the pulley broke, the bucket fell down the shaft.

Hun Bunthan, head of the provincial Department of Mines and Energy, said Mesco Gold agreed to compensate the family $5,000 for each death. The company is licensed and began to mine gold in the area this year.

Company Director Rajeev Moudgil said all regulations and safety procedures are in place at the mine.

“An enquiry conducted by the company has found that the workers ignored the clear safety instructions of not using ore skip/bucket for going down the vertical shaft,” he wrote by email.

Meng Saktheara, secretary of state at the Mines Ministry, confirmed the company has safety measures in place but that there “could also be management issues involved”, since workers had still managed to use the bucket despite guidelines in place not to do so.

He said the ministry had conducted inspections every two or three months at the mine, but he could not provide the date of the most recent visit yesterday. “We will do an investigation,” he said.

According to Moudgil, there was a supervisor and mining engineer at the site, but he did not specify if the two brothers were directly supervised.

Additionally, under Cambodia’s Labour Law, the minimum age for hazardous work is 18, while for nondangerous jobs it is 15. According to Moudgil, relatives of the 17-year-old claimed he was 19.

“Considering the [boy’s] need for the job, he was taken in as a trainee,” he said.

He skirted a question asking if the company had followed up to check for proof of the boy’s age, saying only: “The fact is he was a trainee.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the