Omai Gold Mine

Cambior Inc. and Golden Star Resources Ltd.
$163 million political risk insurance[1]
reinsured $55 million
$21 million (Cambior)
$14 million (Golden Star)[2]

The now infamous, massive tailings dam failure at the Omai mine occurred in August 1995. Millions of cubic metres of heavy metal laden mine waste spilled into the Essequibo River, the country’s main waterway. Large fish kills were reported and the government declared the area a disaster zone. Amerindian indigenous people living along the banks of the Essequibo claimed major fish losses, contamination of freshwater supplies and adverse health effects, as a result of the spill. A class action lawsuit on behalf of affected Guyanese was thrown out by a Quebec court, which denied the Guyanese plaintiffs standing.[3]

[1] Adams, Patricia. Probe International Submission to the Export Development Act Review. December 2005.

[2] CPP Investment Board Canadian Equity Holdings as of March 31, 2006.

[3] Moody, Roger. The Risks We Run. Mining, Communities and Political Risk Insurance. International Books. 2005.