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Burkina Court Finds Mine Bosses Guilty for Deaths

FILE: Hein Frey, Vice President of Operations at Trevali Mining Corporation which owns the Perkoa mine, looks on during a rescue operation there four weeks after a flood trapped eight miners inside the galleries, in Perkoa, Burkina Faso. Taken 5.13.2022

A court in Burkina Faso has found two executives working for Canadian mining firm Trevali guilty of involuntary manslaughter after a flood disaster at its Perkoa zinc mine in April killed eight miners, the company's country manager said on Wednesday.

A Perkoa mine manager was given a 24-month suspended sentence, while a manager from Trevali's contractor Byrnecut was given a 12-month suspended sentence, said Ditil Moussa Palenfo, country director of Nantou Mining, the Trevali entity that owns Perkoa.

Relatives of some of the victims in April had filed a complaint for involuntary homicide, causing danger to life and failure to help people in danger. Burkina Faso's prime minister said that the managers were banned from leaving the country while investigations were underway.

Eight miners drowned in the underground passages of Trevali's Perkoa zinc mine in Sanguie province after torrential rain fell unexpectedly during the West African country's dry season.

The last body was recovered in June after 66 days of searching.

There had initially been hope the missing miners had reached a refuge chamber located around 570 meters below ground. But it was found empty one month later.

Both the government and Trevali, which says it was caught off-guard by the flood, have opened investigations into the incident.