Eight miners still trapped at Canadian mine in West Africa after three weeks of search efforts – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – May 8, 2022)


A desperate search for eight miners who are trapped by flood waters more than half a kilometre underground at a Canadian-owned zinc mine in West Africa is turning into an international effort, as new equipment arrives at the site.

The workers have been trapped for more than three weeks at the Perkoa mine in Burkina Faso, after heavy thunderstorms triggered flash flooding on April 16. They are believed to be about 550 metres below the surface, with possible access to an emergency chamber at a depth of 580 metres.

High-capacity pumping equipment from Ghana was trucked to the mine late last week, and more pumps are scheduled to arrive by plane from South Africa this week. Burkina Faso’s government said it has also received offers of technical help from Morocco and the European Union.

“No effort is too great,” Burkina Faso’s Mining Minister, Jean Alphonse Somé, said during a visit to the mine site on the weekend. The saga has gripped the country, as government officials provide frequent updates on the rescue effort. Government spokesperson Lionel Bilgo described the work as “a race against time.”

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