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Dec 18, 2017

Fine coming in quarry blast; but who screwed up?

The Ministry of Natural Resources has been investigating procedures as it relates to the mining of aggregate for road works at the Santa Cruz quarry outside of Santa Elena Town, where an explosion last week killed one man and wounded several others. Tonight, News Five has confirmed with C.E.O. in the Ministry Sharon Ramclam-Young that a fine will be imposed for illegal mining under the Mines and Minerals Act, Chapter 226 of the Substantive Laws of Belize. But will it be Tiger Aggregates, sub-contracted for the blasting at the quarry, or Belize Roadway Construction Company which hired them, who face the automatic five thousand dollar fine? Ramclam-Young told us that they are still sorting out who did what as well as the extent of the mining activity. But she added that she is satisfied that neither have applied for any mining license with the ministry for this area, although Belize Roadway has others elsewhere. The results of this investigation will be fed into a larger investigation being conducted by several entities including police. But the cops are also being asked who gave the clearance for the use of explosives in that area in the first place and why. That’s because houses are only meters away from the quarry and the required mining permit and license were not obtained. Here is how the head of National Crimes Investigation Branch responded today.

 

ACP Joseph Myvett, Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch

ACP Joseph Myvett

“As far as we know, yes, the Commissioner does issue the blaster’s license, but where the blasting is going to take place has nothing to do with the Police Department. And yes, the officer in command in San Ignacio was informed of the blasting, and hence police were on the scene at the time when the incident occurred.”

 

Reporter

“Mining Unit gave no license; is that something that you all are looking into as a violation, or will they have to make a complaint?”

 

ACP Joseph Myvett

“When the incident occurred there was a multi-agency investigative approach to the incident and that is still ongoing. That includes members of the Police Department, members of the B.D.F., members of the Department of the Environment, the Mining Unit as well as the Ministry of Works who are a part of the investigative team who are on the ground, doing this investigation.”

 

B.R.C. is a company owned by three Mennonite brothers, the Banmans.

 

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