Shaanxi mineworker missing Monday found Tuesday to be buried Wednesday

Victor Abisiyine Ayine

Missing. Dead. Buried. That is how the life of Victor Abisiyine Ayine, a mineworker, suddenly came to an end in three days inside the yard of Earl International Group Ghana Gold Limited this week.

A native of Beo-Kansigo in the Bongo District, the father of three was usually home from work by 2:00 pm.

But on Monday, 10 July 2023, he was not seen at home at the normal time. Long after the expected time had passed and he still had not returned, his brother, Jonathan, telephoned him.

The calls went unanswered. He kept dialing his phone number, but without success. Later, he decided to wait patiently. Then, after a short while, he resumed the efforts. Still, the attempts yielded no results. It was a long wait for the family until nightfall.

Victor Abisiyine Ayine (arrowed in the picture).

The wait continued through the midnight, the family waxing more anxious as time went by, until daybreak. The sun had not fully risen when his brother set out from the house at Soe-Kasingo for the Chinese company’s distant site at Gban, a community in the east of the Talensi District.

On arriving there, he learnt Victor fell into the company’s tailings dam the previous day (Monday) around 3:00 pm and his body had not been recovered. A tailings dam is a reservoir used to store liquid or solid byproducts of mining operations.

Victor’s lifeless body was eventually pulled out from the dam on the morning of Tuesday after spending more than twelve hours below tainted water. The dam is several feet deep and it is very wide. One of Victor’s relations said he suspected that the company did not want the public to know about the incident and possibly would have buried the body secretly had his brother not reached there early in search of him.

Mourners have described Victor Abisiyine Ayine as “a very responsible man”, “a kind man” and “a hard worker”.

It is alleged that after police picked up the remains, victor’s family came under pressure from the company, which until recently was known as Shaanxi Mining Company Limited, to retrieve the body from the Upper East Regional Hospital’s morgue for burial on Wednesday (today).

Shaanxi has changed its name. But the lack of safe mining measures, which has resulted in several deaths and injuries since the company arrived in the district in 2008, has not changed.

The last time an Earl worker, Paul Agbango, accidentally died from electrocution in the line of duty, the company’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ebenezer Bognaab, boasted:

“You would recall that for the past three years, the mine has been safe. Since 11th December 2019, we have not recorded a fatality. We have kept the mine so safe. Conditions of workers have improved.”

But when Media Without Borders telephoned the PRO on Tuesday for his comments on the latest accident, he did not respond. A message was also sent to him via WhatsApp in relation to the development after he failed to answer the telephone calls. He read the message (as two blue ticks show at the foot of the message). But he did not respond to it.

Aerial view of the Chinese mining company in Talensi

Victor’s grieving family is angry with the company for not making an effort to inform them about Victor’s death until they (the family) found out themselves. Sources close to the family say burial might be rescheduled for another day as Victor’s relations are demanding answers from the company about his work conditions and the circumstances surrounding his death.

An observer said work was still going on as usual on Tuesday under strict instructions from the company’s management while Victor’s body was still in the dam. However, some of the employees ignored the order, saying they would not work until the body was retrieved.

The observer said the body was pulled out of the dam around 10:00 am— about four hours after the deceased mineworker’s brother arrived without prior notice. Victor’s children, he added, are all boys— the eldest 12, the second 6 and the third 1½ years.

Media Without Borders obtained a video showing how the body was retrieved but cannot publish the material herein as it may be too sensitive to readers.

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here