Trevali CEO leaves after two managers convicted of involuntary manslaughter

The Caribou mine, about 50 km west of Bathurst, New Briswick. (Image courtesy of Trevali.)

Trevali Mining Corp.’s president and chief executive Ricus Grimbeek has left the company following a Burkina Faso court’s verdict that found two employees guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

The convictions are related to a tragic incident at the Canadian company’s Perkoa mine in the West African nation caused by a flash flood in April, which trapped and killed eight miners.

South African national Hein Frey was fined $3,000 and given a suspended 24-month prison sentence. Australian Daryl Christensen, who worked for contracting company Byrnecut, was handed a 12-month suspended sentence and fined $1,500.

In addition to Grimbeek, former head of Vale’s Sudbury operations, Trevali’s chief operating officer Derek du Preez and director Dan Isserow also resigned, the company said in a press release late on September 16.

The struggling miner has also begun a court-approved sales process for its interest in the 90%-owned Rosh Pinah zinc-lead-silver mine, in Namibia, and its fully-owned Caribou mine in New Brunswick, Canada.

Unseasonal, heavy rainfall caused flash floods on April 16 that left eight workers missing underground at Perkoa.

Trevali spent the next two months pumping out about 137 million litres of water. Equipment had to be imported from other countries, including Ghana and South Africa, raising questions about how prepared for a disaster the company was.

The underground mine, which produced about 316.2 million pounds of zinc in 2021, has remained halted since the tragic incident and Trevali has suspended its production and cost guidance for 2022 for the operation.


Earlier this month, the Vancouver-based company announced it was delisting from the Toronto Stock Exchange, effective Monday October 3 after close. The decision came after the company filed an application for creditor protection under Canada’s Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

CCAA allows companies to restructure and carry on their business while avoiding the “social and economic consequences of bankruptcy.”

Trading is also expected to stop on the Lima Stock Exchange, OTCQX and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.