Miner killed at illegal Colombian mine

ONE worker is reportedly dead after a cave-in incident at an illegal mine in central Colombia, the second fatality in as many days for the South American coal hotbed.
Miner killed at illegal Colombian mine Miner killed at illegal Colombian mine Miner killed at illegal Colombian mine Miner killed at illegal Colombian mine Miner killed at illegal Colombian mine

 

Donna Schmidt

Ingeominas rescue operations head Edgar Morales told news service Marketwatch on Thursday one body was found at 3am local time after the cave-in at the underground mine near Lenguazaque. The worker’s name was not released.

"This mine was more than just illegal, it was extremely rudimentary and didn't meet any safety regulations," he said.

On Wednesday, Marketwatch said, another worker died in another cave-in just a short distance from the Lenguazaque mine, though details of the mine name and identity of the victim were not made available.

Colombia has been undergoing a safety overhaul as of late, ramping up 2011 inspections and shutting down unlicensed operations after the country lost 26 miners in January of this year in two accidents recorded in just one week.

Both of those incidents are still under investigation but methane build-up is suspected.

Shortly after the two accidents, Colombian government officials told media it had just 16 inspectors to oversee the thousands of operations across the country.

"The industry, the mining companies, are making few attempts at self-monitoring of safety conditions,” Morales told Marketwatch.

“The culture of safety simply doesn't exist here in Colombia."

With the most recent fatality, Colombia’s death toll from mining-related incidents in 2011 stands at 63, compared to the 173 reportedly recorded last year.

Colombia is the world's fifth largest coal exporter.

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