The Burkina Faso search team closed people trapped in the flood mine

Rescuers are pouring water from a zinc mine in Burkina Faso, where eight workers have been trapped for nearly a month, the government said Wednesday for safety.

Six Burkina Faso civilians, a Tanzanian and a Zambian, were forced to cease operations on April 16 after flash floods caused by heavy rains at the Percova mine of the Travelly Mining Corp in Canada.

The company said most of the underground workers were able to evacuate during the flood, with eight missing 520 meters (1,706 feet) and 520 meters (1,706 feet) below the surface.

Two shelters were set up in case the miners were trapped, but it is not known if any of the missing workers were able to get there.

One is at level 570 and contains three weeks worth of food and water and the other is smaller, deeper in the mine, 710 meters below the surface.

Burkina Faso government spokeswoman Lionel Bilgo said Wednesday that more than 38 million liters (10 million gallons) of water had been removed, leaving the first shelter 10 meters above the water.

“The vents are still working, keep us hopeful,” Birgo told reporters as he exited the council meeting. “It’s a competition against time.”

Bilgo’s update was confirmed by Travelly, who was pressured into the compressed air supply line chamber as there was no way to know if it was working properly.

“The key to survival is the availability of oxygen and how people use water and any food reserves,” it said in an email to Reuters.

Troubled families meet daily in Sangui Province, in central Burkina Faso, for updates and emotional support.

“It’s not that easy,” Antony Bama, the brother of one of the missing workers, told Reuters.

“The more days, the more pain,” he said on the phone.

The Burkina Faso government has launched a judicial inquiry into the incident and said last week that mine operators would be barred from leaving the country as the investigation continues.

Travelly is also working to determine the cause of the accident.

“We initially underestimated the disaster level,” said Dittle Mousa Palenfo, country director of Nantou Mining, a travel unit owned by Perkova.

Leave a Reply