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

  • LPG gas explosion injures 13 people, including foreigners, in Siem Reap

    An explosion on Wednesday at a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) car and tuk-tuk refuelling station in Siem Reap city has left 13 people, including an American and a Briton, suffering burns. The seven most severely burned, including a provincial police officer, were sent to a Thai

  • Over 100 Chinese nationals to be deported for online scam

    The Ministry of Interior is planning to deport 128 Chinese nationals after they were arrested in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in an online money extortion scam. Y Sokhy, the head of the Department of Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime, told The Post

  • More than 800 people test positive for HIV in 2018

    The National Aids Authority (NAA) said more than 800 people tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) last year, joining over 76,000 others aged between 15 and 49 in the Kingdom already infected with the virus. The spread of HIV/AIDS in the Kingdom is showing few signs of

  • Rainsy vow to return on Nov 9 dismissed as ‘political warfare’

    An announcement from the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that its “acting president” Sam Rainsy would return to the Kingdom on November 9 was dismissed on Sunday as “political warfare”. The CNRP made the announcement on Friday after a permanent committee meeting chaired by