20 Dec 2005

Reports of growing fear among miners in Fiji after latest death

3:51 pm on 20 December 2005

Mineworkers at Fiji's Vatukoula gold mine are reported to be living in daily fear of death because they don't know if they will return home once they go underground.

This follows the death of yet another miner, Sireli Masenawa, 22, when a rock fall deep underground crushed him on Friday.

This death follows that of 26 year old Sharvin Prasad in a similar rock fall underground only last month.

The general secretary of the Fiji Mineworkers Union, Satish Chandra, has told the Fiji Times the union is becoming deeply concerned about the high number of fatalities at the gold mine.

Mr Chandra says miners do not know if they are going to return home alive once they go underground.

Mr Chandra is also pressing for the current Workmen's Compensation of 14-thousand US dollars for death to be at least doubled and payments made promptly.

He says the family of Sharvin Prasad, a wife and two young children, are still waiting for their compensation.

The general manager of Emperor Gold Mining Limited, Sean O'Connor, says the management and staff of the mine have extended their condolences to the family of the latest victim, Mr Masenawa.