Ouagadougou – A Burkina court on Wednesday handed suspended sentences for manslaughter to two managers of a mine where eight miners died in a flooding disaster in April.
The accident happened at a mine owned by Canada’s Trevali Mining in Perkoa, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of the capital Ouagadougou.
South African Hein Frey, general manager of Nantou Mining, the local subsidiary of the Canadian company, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by the court in the city of Koudougou.
He was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of two million CFA francs ($3,000).
Daryl Christensen, the operations manager of Byrnecut Burkina, a subcontractor of Nantou Mining, was also found guilty of manslaughter.
He received a 12-month suspended sentence and a smaller fine.
On April 16, eight miners – six Burkinabe, one Zambian and one Tanzanian – became trapped at the bottom of the mine after heavy rains flooded the deep underground shafts where they were working.
The last body of one of the eight trapped miners was recovered in late June.
Frey had pleaded not guilty, though admitting in court that the mine was deeper than foreseen in the original feasibility studies, at 710 metres (2,300 feet) underground rather than 540 metres.
According to the public prosecutor’s office, the modification of the pit, and the lack of an early warning system in case of flooding, prevented the trapped miners from getting back to the surface in time.
Vancouver-based Trevali is a metals mining company with production operations in Canada, Peru, Namibia and Burkina.