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

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration