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