Fate of 375 workers unsure as Troy Resources deliberates on resuming Kairouni operations

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By Bibi Khatoon

A decision as to whether Troy Resources Limited will resume its mining operations at Kairouni, Region Seven next week, lies in the hands of the company’s Board of Directors.

The Directors will meet on Sunday, according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ken Nilsson.

“Next week we will have to do something [because] we are currently operating under a system that allows us to stand people [buyers] down for business reasons…that has a timeline and that timeline runs out next week, so before then, we have to have something to go out and then say this is how we plan to go ahead,” Nilsson told reporters Thursday during a media tour of its Region Seven operations.

He said, “at the end of the day, it sits with the Board of Troy [Resources Limited]…”

The Australian-owned company ceased operations in early October following the death of a Geologist employed by the GGMC, Ryan Taylor at its Hicks site on October 8.

Dead: Ryan Taylor

According to the CEO, Taylor was standing on the edge of a mining pit collecting samples from a mine opened just three weeks before, when the earth gave way.

As a result, he fell and was covered by dirt which suffocated him. The closure of the company’s operations, which is nearing its sixth week, according to Nilsson, has affected 375 workers who were laid off.

The company employs 512 persons –including 21 expatriates –but currently, only 137 are on site which includes approximately 50 security guards, a number of cleaners, cooks, labourers, environmental officers and others.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ken Nilsson.

What is troubling is that the resumption of operations does not guarantee the jobs of the 375 persons off-site in the short term.

The three options available to the company are either resume full operations, downscale or shut down the operation entirely, the CEO noted.

“At the moment, the work we are doing is costing us about US$40,000 per day,” the CEO said. He added that the company suffered US$5-6M in losses.

A cease work order was issued to the company by the Minister with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott following the death of Taylor. The order made headlines again when it was rescinded by Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally.

Nilsson alleged that the cease order had little to do with the mining accident but more to do with the company being pressured by groups with major connections in the Government.

The Hicks 1 site where the mining accident occurred resulting in the death of Ryan Taylor [News Room photo]
“The problem here is we have had a lot of pressure for the past six or seven months from a certain interest group that have no qualms about attacking us from every single angle…they also have very good connections within Government,” the CEO said.

The GGMC, during the same period, had requested that the company clear 65 meters of trees around its mining pits to avoid any instance of a tree falling onto the mine site.

This was done and Troy Resources was given all clearance to resume its operations earlier this month but General Manager, Eric Olson explained that it will take up to six weeks to see the returns from its operations after it resumes.

General Manager, Eric Olson

He said the local managers were given the mandate to create a plan which makes sense to the Board of Directors and this will be presented on Sunday.

Olson is hoping that all workers will be retained since the company is working to develop new mine sites for which the staff –all of whom were fully trained by the company –to complete those works.

Troy Resources Limited began operations in Guyana in 2015 and operates close to ten mines at Kairouni, Region Seven.

The clearing of trees at the mine site [News Room photo]

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