Mine Blast Near Pasta de Conchos Kills 14 in Mexico

Mine Blast Near Pasta de Conchos Kills 14 in Mexico
9 May 2011 ICEM InBrief
Mexico

An illegal coal mine in Mexico’s Coahuila state that was operating for only 20

days exploded on 3 May, killing 14 miners. The tragic methane gas blast

occurred a short distance from the Pasta de Conchos colliery, where 65

miners employed by Grupo Mexico perished in a similar underground gas

explosion in February 2006.

Beneficios Internacionales del Norte SA (Bansa) was listed as the company

operating the mine near Sabinas in the rich Coahuila coal belt of northern

Mexico. Immediately after the powerful explosion that saw three of the

dead blown completely out of the 60-metre-deep tunnel, officials could

not determine the owner because of conflicting data in local registry

citings.

It was days after the blast that Bansa was determined to be the operator

of the 340-acre mine site through a concession from local authorities. A local

official defended that concession, telling press that when the federal

government awards a concession, generated income goes to coffers in

Mexico City, with nothing allocated for the community.

The colliery employed 25 non-union miners and had no certification or

registry regarding safety. The Mexican federal government closed the mine

and is now involved in body recovery and investigation.

The underground explosion rocked the surface so strongly that a 15-year-old

minor who was picking coal off an external conveyer belt had to have both

arms amputated and is in serious condition in a hospital.

The 3 May tragedy in northern Mexico stands as yet another example of

safety risks and dangers by unregistered and unreliable mining installations

when demand and pricing of a mineral is at a premium.

This ICEM release is also available on the ICEM Web-site  (http://www.icem.org

/en/78-ICEM-InBrief/4413-Mine-Blast-Near-Pasta-de-Conchos-Kills-14-in-

Mexico)

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