Tag Archives: Workers conditions

VGM awaits board of inquiry results in Fiji

Felix Chaudhary | The Fiji Times | 15 May, 2018

ANY steps that could be taken to increase safety at Vatukoula Gold Mines PLC (VGM) will be highlighted during a board of inquiry into the death of Avinesh Ram, a miner who allegedly lost his life during an underground incident last week Wednesday.

This was the word from VGM corporate services manager and special adviser to general manager Dinny Laufenboeck in response to questions raised by this newspaper.

“A board of inquiry under the chairmanship of an independent official appointed by the Mineral Resources Department continues into the fatality which occurred underground at the Vatukoula Gold Mines on May 2, 2018,” she said.

“As this is a legal process mandated by the Mining Act, please address any requests for information to the PS (permanent secretary) for Lands and Mineral Resources.

“Recommendations on what more VGM could do in managing risk to employees at Vatukoula will be provided as an outcome from the board of inquiry.”

Mr Ram allegedly died after he fell into a sinkhole in the R1 underground shaft on May 2 and became trapped under 20m of rock and soil.


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“Ramu NiCo to reopen after investigations” – or will it…?


Jeffrey Elapa | Post Courier | June 06, 2016

THE Ramu nickel and cobalt mine in Madang Province will reopen soon after the independent investigation report into the death of an Asian and the injuries caused to several Papua New Guineans are determined and presented next week,” Mining Minister Byron Chan said.

Mr Chan said as a result of the accident the Mineral Resource Authority stopped the operations of the mine seven weeks ago and is still closed today.

The mine is operated by the Chinese Government-owned MCC with its mine operations at the Kurumbukari in the Usino-Bundi district with the slurry being piped to the coast at its refinery at Basamuk in the Rai Coast district.

He said the death and the injuries caused to PNG Nationals along the pipeline [?] needed to be investigated and the department requested for an independent investigation that has already concluded and will be presented to him and his department inspectors on Tuesday [6 June].

Mr Chan was responding to questions without notice from Usino-Bundi MP Anton Yagama who wanted to know when the operation will resume after the closure as the effects of the closure was severe as many employee and local businesses were affected.

He said the accident was serious in nature and it needed to be investigated and reported in order to allow the operations to resume as safety cannot be compromised.

“We understand the impact of the shutdown of the mine but the incident is serious. It was a pipeline problem that caused the death and we had to call for an independent investigation.

Since it’s technical as it deals with high pressure pipes it has taken that long for the investigations to be concluded but the report will be tabled next week and we look forward to reopening the mine.

“There is a possibility of reopening train one and two but the third train that caused the incident will be closed to avoid similar incidences,” Chan said.

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Fiji: Youth call for tighter mine monitoring

xinfa bauxite bua

Serafina Silaitoga | The Fiji Times | May 27, 2016

THE Bua Urban Youth Network has called on Government to tighten monitoring process of the bauxite mine.

In a press release, the organisation believes the task of monitoring rehabilitation works at the Nawailevu mine site should have been given to the Department of Environment.

“Bua Urban Youth Network is calling on government agencies responsible to vigorously monitor safety, environmental and social impacts and immediately take mitigating action to address loopholes,” the release said.

“A critical part of this monitoring should have been played by the Nawailevu community, but their effective inclusion has consistently been undermined since 2011,” the release said.

“They did not give their free, prior and informed consent to the initiative in the first place and this affected their ability to effectively monitor their environment throughout the mining period.”

The release added the tragic accident in which a worker died at the bauxite mine should not have happened.

Minister for Labour Semi Koroilavesau said a team was investigating the incident.

“The accident has been brought to the attention of our Labasa office on (23/05/16) and our officers have already been deployed to carry out investigations into the accident,” he said.

“If a non-compliance issue is identified, various mechanisms such as verbal advise, formal correspondence and issuing of relevant notices, are used to ensure that workplaces meet the minimum OHS standards.”

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MCC delay report on fatal accident


Mining Minister: “Basically that is what is causing the delay in addressing the stop-work order. We are waiting for this report from the company which has taken the company about six weeks for them to submit” 

Report to decide Basamuk’s fate

Post Courier | 27 May, 2016

A decision on the Ramu Nickel’s Basamuk refinery operations is pending an independent technical investigation report from the mine management.

The Government will make a decision to lift the stop-work order placed only after the report on the fatal incident of April 12 is submitted.

The company had been ordered to engage an independent third party to investigate the incident which killed a Chinese national worker and caused bodily injuries to two other national workers.

This order follows initial investigations by the Mineral Resources Authority’s Mines Inspectorate on site on April 14 revealing serious unsafe and defective management systems that were prevalent on the high pressure acid leach trains.

The report was to be submitted to the Government for assessment and determination on the next course of action.

However, Mining Minister Byron Chan said so far Ramu Nickel has not submitted that report despite assurances from the company that it would by May 25 (yesterday).

“Basically that is what is causing the delay in addressing the stop-work order. We are waiting for this report from the company which has taken the company about six weeks for them to submit,” he said.

Mr Chan said the Government in the meantime has allowed the company to carry out other equipment preservation activities but with conditions that they must not interfere with evidences of the ongoing investigations.

“I am aware that the stop work order has not affected the company’s ability to continue to export nickel and cobalt during this period.

“I want to assure the company that it is in our interest to return the refinery back to normal operations but we must do so under safe conditions. To do otherwise is not an option.”

Meanwhile, the Minister has announced Lave Michael, former deputy Chief Inspector as the new Chief Inspector of Mines, taking over from Mohan Singh.

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Fiji ministry probes death

xinfa bauxite bua

Serafina Silaitoga and Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | May 26, 2016

THE Ministry of Labour does not monitor the occupational health and safety standard issues at all mining sites.

Minister for Labour Semi Koroilavesau confirmed this yesterday as he responded to questions from this newspaper following the death of 29-year-old Floyd Williams at the bauxite mining site in Bua last Saturday.

“The ministry is not aware of any safety concerns raised by the workers in the mines as this area is not regulated by our ministry,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

“The Health and Safety at Work Act 1996 applies to all workplaces except those workplaces connected with the Mining Act, Quarries Act, Explosives Act and Petroleum (Exploration and Exploitation) Act.

“Therefore, the National OHS Service does not monitor the OHS standard at all mining sites, as these are exempted from the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act.”

But Mr Koroilavesau assured that investigations had started into the incident in Bua.

“The accident has been brought to the attention of our Labasa office and our officers have already been deployed to carry out investigations into the accident.

“If a non-compliance issue is identified, various mechanisms such as verbal advice, formal correspondence and issuing of relevant notices, are used to ensure that workplaces meet the minimum OHS standards.

“If an offence is committed against the Health and Safety at Work Act 1996, maximum fines of up to $100,000 in the case of a corporation or $10,000 in any other case, are imposed.”

Mr Koroilavesau said in cases of a serious offence being committed, legal proceedings were instituted against the person committing the offence.

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Another tragic death, another embarrassing shutdown for MCC

basamuk mcc ramu mine

2016 is turning into a disaster for the Chinese at their Ramu nickel mine in Madang. In January, Trade Minister Richard Maru threatened legal action over the death of a worker, then staff went on strike over safety standards and management attitudes. In March the slurry pipe burst open forcing another shutdown. Now, another accident and another tragic death…

Ramu NiCo project shuts down temporarily

Post Courier, 13 April 2016

OPERATIONS at the Ramu nickel mine in Madang have been temporary shut down following the death of one of its staff and hospitalisation of two others.

The incident comes just weeks after the company had marked national mine safety week.

The company in a statement released yesterday, said the incident had occurred at about 7.50am on Monday.

The management said the cause of the accident is yet to be established.

It confirmed that the deceased employee was an expatriate from China.

The company said every effort had been made by its emergency response team which included medical officers to resuscitate the worker but without success.

The management said the two national staff who sustained injuries were airlifted from Basamuk, Raicoast District to Madang and are now recovering at the Modilon General Hospital.

“The incident was unfortunate and we are so sad that we have lost one of our employees.

“We are in the process of informing his family members,” the management said.

The incident has been reported to Mineral Resources Authority and the incident scene has been barricaded for further investigation.

“We have secured the area and ensured no further injury to our employees. We also advise family members and relatives that all employees are all safe,” Ramu NiCo management said.

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Shareholders profit as Crater mine prepares to reopen

Crater Gold’s shares rise as it readies to restart PNG mine operations

Esmarie Swanepoel | Mining Weekly

The share price of ASX-listed Crater Gold Mining jumped by 20% on Thursday after the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government approved the restart of mining at the Crater Mountain site. Crater was hoping to restart operations before the end of the month.

The company was ordered to cease mining activities in late December, pending the conclusion of a PNG Mines and Safety Inspectorate inquiry into the circumstances surrounding a November vehicle accident, which claimed the life of the driver.

Crater told shareholders on Thursday that a notice of relaxation of the cessation order had now been issued by the inspectorate, allowing the company to restart operations, pending a number of conditions, including the constant supervision of workers, the exclusive use of mechanised systems to load and transport material within the mine site, an adequate risk assessment and continued communication with the inspectorate.

The relaxation order was valid until the end of September and could be withdrawn at any time. Crater told shareholders that the company had attended to all the issues raised by the inspectorate and, once an internal review had determined that all conditions of the relaxation order had been satisfied, production would restart.

The company had been hoping to produce some 100 000 oz of gold from the Crater Mountain project in 2015.

A Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant resource of 24-million tonnes, grading 1 g/t gold for 790 000 oz of contained gold had been defined at the main zone of the Crater Mountain project, which includes four prospects.

Crater shares were trading at a high of 12c a share on Thursday, up from a low of 10.5c a share.

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