Mining 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.