Avocet Gold Mining company sign Cyanide Code

Cyanide containers submerged in downstream flow from Djibo dam
Photo from Avocet

Some good news from ICMI today – Avocet Gold Mining company have signed up to the Cyanide Code: Avocet Mining PLC Becomes a Signatory to International Cyanide Management Code.

This is good news whichever way you look at it. Well done, Avocet. (If you don’t know who Avocet are, or what this story is about, click on the Cyanide article under ‘Popular Posts’ on the right there).

I hope to see practical changes happening as a result of this move. At present, Samsung continues to deliver cyanide to Avocet’s Inata mine under precisely the same conditions as it always has done. I asked Brett Richards, Avocet CEO, a few questions last month, which he kindly answered to the best of his ability.

Back in August Avocet pledged to conduct meetings with their contracters “at the highest level” in order to address issues of container strength, driver training and emergency response procedures. Did this meeting ever happen?
Brett Richards: No – it did not, Samsung refused to correspond after several attempts on our behalf.

What changes have been made to the containers?
Brett Richards: None that I know of – the strength / quality of the containers are not the issue here.

What changes have been made to the quality and training of drivers?
Brett Richards: Samsung have not responded to my correspondence of what education / training they were going enforce on their sub-contracts. I am still awaiting a response.

What changes have been made to your emergency response measures?
Brett Richards: I am still awaiting a response.

Your mine director’s report refers to two previous incidents regarding the overturn of cyanide trucks. When did the ‘two previous incidents’ happen, and where?
Brett Richards: I have copied Richard Gray on this email, as I do not know the details – all I know is that they were close calls and were not elevated to my level, and managed locally.

It seems bizarre that Samsung and Avocet have such bad relations with each other and yet continue to do business. Could it be that there is no other option for the delivery of cyanide in Burkina Faso? Could it be that Samsung is the best of a bad lot? I approached Samsung for a comment regarding their ‘refusal to correspond’ with Avocet about safety. I received no response.

So whilst I welcome Avocet’s signing of the Cyanide Code, there are still many questions to be answered.

Published by

Stephen Davies

Children's author: picture books, chapter books and YA novels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.