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Burkina Faso court finds execs at Trevali mine guilty of involuntary manslaughter

A court in Burkina Faso has found two executives working for Canadian mining firm Trevali guilty of involuntary manslaughter after a flood disaster at its Perkoa zinc mine in April killed eight miners, the company’s country manager said.

A Perkoa mine manager was given a 24-month suspended sentence, while a manager from Trevali’s contractor Byrnecut was given a 12-month suspended sentence, said Ditil Moussa Palenfo, country director of Nantou Mining, the Trevali entity that owns Perkoa.

Trevali halted trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange last month after announcing the two executives were being held in Burkina Faso and awaiting trial. Its common shares will be delisted effective close of market on October 3.

Relatives of some of the victims in April had filed a complaint for involuntary homicide, causing danger to life and failure to help people in danger. Burkina Faso’s prime minister said that the managers were banned from leaving the country while investigations were underway.

Eight miners drowned in the underground passages of Trevali’s Perkoa zinc mine in Sanguie province after torrential rain fell unexpectedly during the West African country’s dry season.

The last body was recovered in June after 66 days of searching.

There had initially been hope the missing miners had reached a refuge chamber located around 570 metres below ground. But it was found empty one month later.

Both the government and Trevali, which says it was caught off-guard by the flood, have opened investigations into the incident.