Natural Resources Ministry warns of dangerous mining practices

first_imgMining deathsThe Natural Resources Ministry has once again cautioned against the illegal and unsafe mining practices in Guyana, which has caused serious implications on the sector and resulted in many recorded deaths this year.Following the death of an 11-year-old boy at Port Kaituma, Region One (Barima-Waini) in an illegal mining pit on Friday, the Ministry on Saturday highlighted the ongoing plague of mining deaths and underscored the need for individuals to desist from dangerous mining practices.“Raiding and illegal mining remains significant problems in the sector and this death only reinforces the resulting dangers of these. It is high time persons understand these dangers and deter from doing such acts. Mine safety remains avid to the interest of the Ministry and as such we continue to look into mining deaths that result from these practices,” the Natural Resources Ministry said on Saturday.Eleven-year-old Tyrone Tyrel De Souza died while working illegally at a mining camp, when the pit caved-in on him.The young man, who resided at Big Creek, Port Kaituma, Region One (Barima-Waini) reportedly visited the mining pit with a group of young men.Owner of the camp, Terrence Yarde had ceased operations for the holidays and he contended that the boys started an illegal search for gold. De Souza was said to be among the group when he was caught by the moving debris.“Reports indicate that the child, as part of a group of children, ventured onto a mining claim, owned by miner Terrence Yarde and started an illegal search for gold. This resulted in the collapse of the pit covering the child and tragically leading to his death,” the Ministry noted.It was announced that an investigation was launched into the incident. Guyana Times understands that officials from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) were also dispatched to the site to assist with the probe.While this incident raised eyebrows about the potential dangers of these mining camps and the need to increase safety measures, it is among the many cases which were reported for the year.In January, 23-year-old Handel Payne, also called “Daggie” of Kaneville Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara (EBD) died after the mining pit in which he was working; at 35 Miles, Konawaruk Backdam, collapsed.Information reaching Guyana Times revealed that Payne and others were working in the mining pit when a piece of the mud wall collapsed behind them and subsequently struck Payne in his mid-section.He reportedly fell unconscious at a time when the water began to rise rapidly. As a result, Payne was submerged and subsequently drowned. He was later pulled out, and rushed to the Mahdia Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.In April, miner Kevin Adams, 25, of Linden, died at Chinese Creek Backdam, Mazaruni River, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni)/ after a pit caved in and buried him alive.One month later in May, Ken Ranny, 20, a resident of Kamarang, Upper Mazaruni River, died after he was covered by mud after the wall of a mining pit in which he was working collapsed at Pepper Camp Backdam, Upper Mazaruni River.In June, miner Elmo Adams died after he too was buried alive after the walls of a pit in which he was working caved at Imbaimadai, Upper Mazaruni.September saw two persons being killed in similar conditions at Mowasi Backdam, Konawaruk, Potaro, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni). Deon Sproston, called “Jersey Joe”, 36, of Lot 133 Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara (ECD), and a miner only known as “Shawn” lost their lives in similar fashion after the walls caved in while they were in the pit with metal detectors searching for gold while it was raining heavily. While working, a large portion of the pit wall suddenly broke off and fell on both men, burying them alive.In October, Lennox Douglas, 33, of Canvas City, Wismar, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) died at Issano Backdam, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) after the mining pit in which he was working collapsed.Weeks after, on November 20, a woman miner was on Tuesday killed after a mining pit caved in on her while punting for gold at Arakaka Backdam, North West District (NWD), Region One (Barima-Waini). Forty-four-year-old Eleen Figuera of Two Miles Arakaka and some others were working in the pit when the mud walls suddenly caved in and covered her. The others managed to escape with minor bruises.Figuera was subsequently pulled from the pit and taken to the Pakera District Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.In the year 2015, 10 persons died when a mining pit in the Konawaruk area collapsed. The incident saw 17 miners being buried under a pile of dirt and rubble, but seven managed to escape with various injuries.The others remained trapped under the dirt where they perished. Those who failed to escape were Leyland Jones, Jason Trotman, Vick Bernard, Frank Bernard, Desmond Martins, Raymond August, Brian Bank, Trevon Phillips, Nanmore Kurt and another man identified only as “Michael”.The deaths were blamed on heavy rains in the area, improper mine design, and poor safety practices at the mining camp.last_img read more

49ers to be without second-leading receiver vs. Buccaneers

first_imgSANTA CLARA — Coach Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers will be without receiver Pierre Garçon and guard Joshua Garnett against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and that linebacker Reuben Foster is questionable to return.Foster has not played since he suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of the 49ers’ 18-15 loss to Arizona on Oct. 28 and Friday marked the third straight day he’s been limited in practice.“He’s looked better each day,” Shanahan said. “This has been his first week of practice, but …last_img read more

Soccer City: an architect’s dream

first_img25 February 2010 Architect Bob van Bebber waited 15 years to realise his dream – and it’s a dream the world can share on 11 June when 88 851 spectators take their seats at South Africa’s spectacular Soccer City stadium for the opening of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™. Van Bebber originally proposed a stadium – not just any stadium but a World Cup stadium – back in 1991 while completing his architecture degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. But he was told a stadium required too much engineering – until then engineers mostly designed stadiums. So he told his professor at the time, respected conservation architect Herbert Prins, that one day he would do it. That day arrived in 2006, when his design for Soccer City was approved. “This has been a dream project that I have been chasing for so long,” he says. A massive calabash, one of the symbols of rural African life, rises from the ground at Nasrec on the outskirts of Soweto in Johannesburg, outflanking the long, surrounding mine dumps. “I wanted to bring aesthetics and design into a stadium,” explains Van Bebber, a keen footballer at one time. The calabash was selected from a number of designs as being “the most recognisable object to represent what would automatically be associated with the African continent and not any other”, he says. “The calabash, or ‘melting pot of African cultures’, sits on a raised podium, on top of which is located a ‘pit of fire’. Thus the pot sits in a depression, which is the ‘pit of fire’, as if it were being naturally fired,” reads the info pack. It is hoped that the calabash shape will be “recognised instantly by spectators in every corner of the world”. Aesthetics and design So, does it have aesthetics and design? Its large, rounded shape is created by means of thousands of glass-fibre concrete panels in eight different earthy colours, fitted together in a patchwork, and curving around into the cantilevered roof. Odd glazed panels punctuate this facade, allowing sunlight to stream in. The three-tier stadium soars 60 metres into the air, and stretches across 300 metres. At night when the lights are on, it takes on a fantastic glow, something almost extraterrestrial. It looks magical from a distance; it looks magical from inside, with its multiple shapes and colours soaring above your head in a curve, as you enter. Although it encases you in its roundness, that roundness is tempered by huge angled concrete columns and ramps on the inside, and although the concrete is dead and grey, the contrasting shapes are alive with design, enhanced by tall open spaces. Van Bebber says that for him the design of the calabash has special meaning. “It symbolises people coming together, a melting pot of cultures, sharing and passing around the calabash.” And the world is going to be sharing from that calabash come June. He says now, with the stadium almost complete and a truly splendid addition to Johannesburg’s growing list of African-inspired structures, that he is “very proud” of it. Construction will take three years – it started in February 2007 and will be complete in March 2010. Sibongile Mazibuko, the executive director of Joburg’s 2010 unit, says the design of the stadium “symbolises the unity of Africa”. “There is something very cultural about it, it touches who we are,” she says. World football body Fifa describes it as “one of the most artistic and awe-inspiring football venues on the African continent”. Seats Arguably the most striking of all the 10 stadiums, teams playing at Soccer City are likely to be overwhelmed by the sounds of cheering and vuvuzelas coming from 88 851 people, the number of seats in the stadium. This is almost double the capacity of any of the other nine World Cup stadiums around the country. Symbolism has been built into it. Nine vertical lines run through the seats and through the facade, aligning with the other nine 2010 stadiums, as well as the Berlin Stadium, where the 2006 World Cup was held. “These are representative of the road to the final, and it is hoped that, after the World Cup, the scores of each game at each venue will be placed in pre-cast concrete panels on the podium,” reads the information statement. “A visit to the stadium will thus provide one with a full history of the World Cup and all its scores.” The stadium has other significance, too. In 1990, Nelson Mandela was welcomed back to his home town, Johannesburg, here. A funeral service was held here for Communist Party leader Chris Hani, who was assassinated in Boksburg in 1993. First in South Africa Van Bebber is an architect at Boogertman Urban Edge & Partners. The firm was ranked first in South Africa and Africa and 63rd in the world for 2008, according to the World Architecture Magazine. It has been around for 25 years, with offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Dubai and Mauritius. Its designs range from hotels, shopping centres, office parks and showrooms, to industrial parks and homes and palaces. It has picked up awards for the design of the Parktown Quarter, the Irene Village Mall, the Blu Bird Centre in Rivonia and the Bigen Centre in Pretoria. Van Bebber has previously been involved in the design of office towers, a beach resort in Dubai, retail developments, a parkade, sections of OR Tambo International Airport, and Emperor’s Casino in Benoni. He had been working on a stadium design since 2001, believing that South Africa would win the bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup. So when, in 2004, it was announced as the host for the tournament, the firm was asked for its design. Boogertman were ready with seven different proposals, among them a design acknowledging the city’s disappearing mine dumps; the kgotla, defined by the tree, of the African city state; the African map as a horizontal representation, with the roof of the stadium depicted as a desert plane set within the mineral wealth of southern Africa; and a representation of the national flower, the protea. Van Bebber says that very little of the old remodelled FNB Stadium was kept. It had only one grandstand, on its western side, with the other three sides simply banked seats. All sides now have covered stands, with two levels of VIP boxes and suites running completely around the stadium. The moat and the curved geometry of the edges of the field have been retained. Van Bebber is particularly proud of the fact that all seats have a good view of the field. The stadium has green-friendly elements. All lighting is energy efficient; materials from dismantled sections of the old stadium were re-used; water collected in the moat around the field is used to water the field, and excess water is used to flush the toilets. The flushing of the urinals is programmed, releasing water in tune to the use of the toilets. Budget The major challenge has been making the budget stretch as far as it can, says Van Bebber. “But despite this, I think we have given value for money.” The original budget started at R1.9-billion in 2007, and escalated to R3.3-billion by the end. Increasing costs for items like materials, the scope of the stadium and import duties led to the jump in budget, costs felt equally by all the stadium construction teams. Mazibuko agrees, saying that the City has got value for money in Soccer City, and that the investment was “quite justified”. She is also pleased with the impact of the development on the surrounding neighbourhood, which is receiving an upgrade. A transportation hub and pedestrian mall is being constructed to its south and the precinct will contain new roads, walkways, lighting, signage, landscaping, CCTV cameras and public amenities. Boogertman brought in overseas stadium contractors Populous, despite not being required to. One person spent three to four days for six weeks working with Van Bebber’s team, fine-tuning the design. “It was amazing how much we had done right,” says Van Bebber. He admits, however, that building the stadium has been an “almost vertical learning curve”. He is pleased with the comparison with the other stadiums around the country. He feels three of them – in Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth – are good but Eurocentric designs, having been designed by German architects. “They’re very slick, with very high specs, and therefore more expensive.” The Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban cost R4.8-billion to build and the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town cost R5,8-billion. “Soccer City compares very favourably with the others, but we feel it’s ahead of the pack,” he says. It seems appropriate that South Africa will play the first game here. At 4pm on 11 June, Bafana Bafana will run on to the field, to face Mexico. Every South African hopes that the final game, at 8.30pm on 11 July, will also see Bafana Bafana run into the stadium, to take the trophy. Standing with Van Bebber in the stands on a wet day, I suddenly became aware of a gentle roar. I looked around, wondering what it was, then realised: it was the rain flashing down on the roof. A gentle roar seemed a good sound for this spectacular stadium. Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

Port of Virginia Gets Final OK for Expansion Project

first_imgThe Port of Virginia received the final authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move ahead with the Wider, Deeper, Safer project.The USACE’s report is the final federal review of the project and clears the way for the deepening and widening of the commercial shipping channels serving the Norfolk Harbor.The dredging project will take the channels to 55 feet deep and widen the channels in select areas to allow for two-way traffic of ultra-large container vessels.“The largest ships in the Atlantic trade are already calling Virginia, but the added depth will allow for even bigger vessels and their safe, uninterrupted passage to and from the harbor,” the port said.The project will be executed in two phases. The preliminary engineering and design (USD 20 million) is the first phase and is expected to take 18-24 months and the dredging phase (USD 330 million), which has a 2024 target completion date.The Army Corps’ Chief of Engineers’ report allows the project to be included in the federal Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill.The report completes an effort that began in 1986, when the port was given authorization in the federal WRDA to deepen the Norfolk Harbor to 55 feet. In June 2015, the port and the Army Corps’ Norfolk District office signed the Feasibility Cost-Share Agreement and began collaborating on the Wider, Deeper, Safer effort.last_img read more

Earthquake earlywarning sensors installed off coast of British Columbia

first_imgVANCOUVER – An earthquake early-warning system tested off British Columbia’s coast could give residents anywhere from 20 seconds to two minutes to prepare before a quake.The first-of-its kind warning sensors developed by Ocean Networks Canada is installed along the Cascadia subduction zone and when fully operating next March will be able to estimate location and magnitude of a megathrust earthquake.Greig Bethel of Ocean Networks Canada, an initiative of the University of Victoria, says the system is active even as more sensors are being installed in the area to increase accuracy.A simulated exercise was conducted Thursday in Vancouver on the 19-kilometre Canada Line stretch of the SkyTrain system, giving transit operators a chance to slow down trains and hold them at stations.British Columbia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an active seismic zone where thousands of mostly small earthquakes are recorded annually by sensors in the province.Most of the quakes happen near the Cascadia subduction zone, an area where the Juan de Fuca and North American tectonic plates converge, stretching from Vancouver Island to northern California.“Ocean Networks Canada’s earthquake early-warning technology promises a new era of earthquake preparedness that will enhance the safety of both riders and workers on the Canada Line,” says Canada Line general manager Ron Powell.A news release from the network says to maximize warning time, it will focus on setting sensors as close to the Cascadia subduction zone as possible and on minimizing delays in data processing, communication, and delivery of warnings.Global Positioning System receivers will also be located with the seismic sensors to further refine the magnitude.Earthquakes release energy that travels through the Earth as seismic waves in two forms — secondary and primary waves.The primary waves travel faster but the secondary waves are the cause of severe damage and ground shaking.However, the sensors would detect primary waves to deliver alerts before the arrival of the secondary waves.“The detection of an earthquake by many sensors can provide rapid estimates of the location and magnitude of an earthquake as it occurs,” the release says. “This information can be used to determine the estimated arrival time and intensity of ground shaking at specific locations across a region, allowing protective actions to take place before the shaking hits.”The early-warning system can help reduce deaths, injuries and property losses, trigger trains to slow down, stop bridge and tunnel traffic, open bay doors at fire and ambulance halls, halt landings for incoming air traffic, and even allow surgeons to stop delicate procedures, the release says.last_img read more