The Burkinabè government believes that there is no “guarantee” to be able to find alive eight miners stuck several hundred meters underground for twenty days in a zinc mine in Burkina Faso. Since April 16, eight minors – six Burkinabè, a Zambian and a Tanzanian are stuck in an underground gallery of the Perkoa zinc mine, about a hundred kilometers west of Ouagadougou, operated by the Canadian company Trevali Mining. They are reported missing following a “flood” caused by torrential rains, according to the mining company.

Race against time

According to a site manager quoted by Burkina24the pumping work has so far been unable to empty the refuge chamber where the miners would be. “The machines set up for pumping are going at a pace (too slow) which is not to our liking and does not guarantee, if we take so long, that we can find them (alive) as we wish” , said government spokesman Lionel Bilgo, who traveled to Perkoa on Thursday May 5 at the head of a government delegation.

The day before, a crisis cell set up in Ouagadougou since the disappearance of the minors had been relocated to the mine site.

“An investigation will be carried out to locate the responsibilities.”

Albert Ouedraogo, Prime Minister

at the Burkina Information Agency (AIB)

Reinforcements

According to government spokesman Lionel Bilgo, “equipment capacity” has been strengthened and calls have been made for “reinforcements” came from Ghana. “We are multiplying our efforts and calling on all skills”, said one of the rescuers. A pumping machine of 60 liters per second notably came into action, which made it possible to lower the level of the water. But, according to him, regular equipment breakdowns have not yet made it possible to reach the “refuge room” located 580 meters underground and equipped with survival kits, where rescuers hope that the miners who worked at 700 meters deep were able to access.

“We had announced the date of May 5” for the rescuers to reach the chamber of refuge, “but unfortunately this date” has passed “without being able to see our brothers”, lamented Antoine Bama, parent of one of the minors. He said he hoped soon “a miracle”.

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