Black lung, a scourge of the past, still plagues Illinois mines – by Kari Lydersen (Energy News Network – July 14, 2021)

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When Robert Cohen learned about black lung disease as a medical student, he assumed it was a relic of the past. “I thought it was something that happened in the times of Émile Zola” — whose 1885 book “Germinal” chronicled the horrors of France’s coal industry. “I didn’t think I’d see it in my practice.”

Almost four decades later, he still treats miners from downstate Illinois, their lungs scarred from breathing coal dust. They trek up to Chicago, sometimes looking out of place in the sleek hospital waiting room on Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast, where Cohen sees patients.

“The nurses love them, they are so down to earth,” said Cohen, who also founded a black lung clinic at Chicago’s public county hospital, serving miners from around the region, including many who had migrated to Chicago from Appalachia after mines there closed.

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The inspiration for revolution: Unhealthy working conditions and low wages led asbestos miners to launch a strike that left a lasting legacy in Quebec’s history – by Mehanaz Yakub (CIM Magazine – June 21, 2021)

https://magazine.cim.org/en/

When the clock struck midnight on February 14, 1949, the normally quiet streets of the small town of Asbestos, Quebec, were packed with nearly 2,000 workers from the Jeffrey Mine who were ready to go on strike.

Later that Valentine’s Day morning, 3,000 more miners from the neighbouring Thetford Mine joined the walkout, and what followed was one of the longest and most brutal labour disputes in the province’s history.

Since the late 19th century, Quebec, and especially Asbestos, was the largest producer and exporter of the eponymous mineral. Asbestos was popularly used for insulation, soundproofing and fireproofing, and American and English-Canadian owned companies, such as Johns-Manville, Asbestos Corp., and Flintkote all set up operations around Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

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Indonesia: Danger Lurks At Illegal Gold Mines – by Keisyah Aprilia (Eurasia Review – March 10, 2021)

https://www.eurasiareview.com/

Risna recounted scrambling to save herself when dirt and rocks came tumbling into a 49-foot deep pit where she and other residents were mining for gold in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province on Feb. 24.

Seven people were killed and dozens more survived that landslide at the illegal mining site in Buranga, a village in Parigi Moutong regency, rescue officials had said.

“We the panners scrambled. Some managed to climb to the top but some were buried,” Risna, a 36-year-old woman who goes by one name, told BenarNews.

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Community rallies to help miner’s family after fatal mudslide at mine near Kamloops – by Tiffany Crawford (Vancouver Sun – February 6, 2021)

https://vancouversun.com/

Raymond Rosenberg, a miner who died Tuesday after an underground mudslide at New Gold’s New Afton mine, left behind his partner Keisha and four children.

A miner who died earlier this week when a mudslide hit a copper and gold mine near Kamloops left behind his partner and four young children.

Now the community is trying to raise money for the young family after his sudden death. The miner, who has been identified by family as Raymond Rosenberg, is described as a kind and good dad.

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One presumed dead, two injured in accident at B.C. gold mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – February 2, 2021)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

One person is presumed dead and another two were injured after an accident at a gold mine in interior British Columbia.

New Gold Inc. said in a release that a mud rush occurred at its New Afton underground gold mine west of Kamloops early Tuesday morning and that a contract driller had likely died. Two other individuals suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The Vancouver-based miner has suspended production at the site while an investigation into the accident is being conducted by the RCMP, B.C.’s Ministry of Mines and the company’s internal team.

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Miners rescued: Is China’s mining industry becoming safer? (Associated Press – January 24, 2021)

https://www.csmonitor.com/

Eleven workers trapped for two weeks inside a Chinese gold mine were brought safely to the surface on Sunday, a landmark achievement for an industry long-blighted by disasters and high death tolls.

State broadcaster CCTV showed workers being hauled up one-by-one in baskets on Sunday afternoon, their eyes shielded to protect them after so many days in darkness.

Some brought their hands together in gratitude and many appeared almost too weak to stand. They were swiftly covered in coats amid freezing temperatures and loaded into ambulances.

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Bittersweet victory for Sudbury woman who lobbied for dad’s health benefits – by Ron Grech (Sudbury Star – January 21, 2021)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Janice Martell worked on behalf of miners who had been exposed to McIntyre Powder

Janice Martell’s father Jim Hobbs didn’t live to see the fruits of his daughter’s lobbying efforts on behalf of miners who had been exposed to McIntyre Powder.

Hobbs, who worked at a uranium mine in Elliot Lake, developed Parkinson’s disease later in life and passed away in May 2017 at the age of 76.

Three years after his death, the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board acknowledged the “increased risk of Parkinson’s disease in McIntyre Powder-exposed miners.”

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[Uranium Mining/Navajo] A toxic history (Moab Sun News – January 15, 2021)

https://www.moabsunnews.com/

Science Moab talks to Dr. Tommy Rock about uranium exposure on the Navajo Nation

The Colorado Plateau has a long history of uranium mining, particularly within the Navajo Nation. Hundreds of abandoned uranium mines still contaminate water sources and ecologies within the Nation, creating dangerous levels of exposure within tribal communities.

Science Moab spoke with Dr. Tommy Rock, an environmental scientist who has testified before Congress as a leading expert in uranium contamination on the Navajo Nation, about his work to uncover these exposure pathways while empowering his community.

Science Moab: Can you explain the history of uranium mining within the Navajo Nation?

Rock: The mining actually first started with people looking for vanadium. [A chemical element primarily used as an additive to steel. -ed.] People flocked to the Four Corners area looking for it. Uranium mining started around 1918, but really started booming in the 1950s and ‘60s when the atomic bomb happened and the Cold War began.

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Court orders Ontario government to pay family of late Sudbury mine worker $2M in damages (CBC News Sudbury – January 12, 2021)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

A court has ordered the Ontario government to pay a Sudbury family over $2 million in damages, finding the province liable in the death of a mine worker in 2006.

Raymond Campeau, 47, died in May of that year working as a mechanic during the sinking of the shaft at Podolsky Mine.

His widow, Faye Campeau, has pushed for accountability from the provincial government ever since. She filed this lawsuit in 2018, claiming that the Ministry of Labour was liable in her husband’s death.

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Pike River: The 29 coal miners who never came home – by Phil Mercer (BBC/Yahoo News – November 19, 2020)

https://news.yahoo.com/

The Pike River mining disaster was a tragedy that shocked the world. Twenty-nine men who were in the New Zealand coal mine died when it collapsed in a series of explosions. The BBC’s Phil Mercer covered the accident 10 years ago and has been talking to families of victims still coming to terms with their loss.

The day after his 17th birthday, Joseph Ray Dunbar began his first shift underground at the Pike River coal mine in New Zealand.

He was a “strong-minded boy” who wanted to carve his own path in life, but on that day in November 2010 he became the youngest victim of a mining disaster that killed 29 men.

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DRC illegal mining the dangerous first link in gold supply chain  – by Bienvenu-Marie Bakumanya and Samir Tounsi (Yahoo Finance/AFP – September 14, 2020)

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/

Illegal small-scale gold miners in DR Congo, such as those who were killed when their makeshift mine collapsed last week, are the often-exploited first link in a supply chain that extends to Dubai, according to experts.

The bodies of 22 artisanal miners have been recovered as of Monday, a resident at the scene told AFP, after torrential rain flooded their mine in the eastern town of Kamituga three days before.

The mining town’s mayor has said 20 local families have reported missing loved ones. Rescue efforts continued on Monday to find any survivors of the mining disaster, which are all to common in the vast central African country’s volatile east.

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NEWS RELEASE: Steelworkers Union Welcomes WSIB Decision Recognizing McIntyre Powder-Related Parkinson’s as Occupational Disease (June 24, 2020)

https://www.usw.ca/

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–United Steelworkers (USW) Ontario Director Marty Warren welcomes the announcement that Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has finally recognized that Parkinson’s Disease is a direct result of exposure to McIntyre Powder.

McIntyre Powder was an aluminum-based inhalant used between 1943 and 1979 in mines and other industries where workers might be exposed to silica dust. The theory, eventually proved false, was that inhaling the powder would protect workers’ lungs.

“This a victory we have been fighting to win for many years,” Warren said of the WSIB decision.

“This means workers’ claims for compensation may finally be met. We consider this a significant step forward toward justice for elderly and sick retirees and their families, although for some families this news comes too late as many who should have been compensated while they were alive have passed away. In the case of those victims’ families, the Estate can file claims on behalf of their loved one.”

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Australian state launches enquiry into Anglo coal mine blast (Reuters U.S. – May 11, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s Queensland on Monday ordered an independent enquiry into an explosion at a coal mine run by Anglo American in the state that last week critically injured five workers.

The accident took place 15 months after another Anglo American worker was killed at a nearby mining complex and comes just months after a review called for tighter regulation of the sector that has seen at least 48 deaths since 2000.

The probe will be led by a retired judge or Queens Counsel who will be able to conduct hearings, call witnesses and make broad inquiries relating to the blast, state mines minister Anthony Lynham said.

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Black Lung and COVID-19 in Appalachia: A Lethal Mix – by Staff (Nature World News – April 6, 2020)

https://www.natureworldnews.com/

Black lung is prevalent in Appalachia. Vulnerable coal miners are wary that the rapid spread and the devastating effects of the COVID-19 can easily wipe their community out.

Jimmy Moore, a 74-year old black lung patient in Shelby Gap, Kentucky, does not know when the coronavirus gets to their area. However, if it does, ” It’s probably just going to wipe us out.” he said. Moore worked in the mines for 22 years and retired in 2000. His 51-year-old son also has a more severe case of black lung.

Two workers in Pennsylvania were tested positive for the coronavirus. The population has an increased risk of getting COVID-19 due to those already inflicted with a black lung.

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Black-Lung Coal Miners Facing Serious Threat from Virus Spread – by Will Wade (Bloomberg News – March 12, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — The biggest labor union for U.S. coal miners is warning that members are at “significant risk” from the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

Mines are enclosed spaces where the highly contagious virus can easily spread, according to Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America. The trade group is developing guidelines that it plans to issue to members soon, he said by email Thursday.

Miners also face greater health risks. As many as 20% of long-time miners may have black lung in central Appalachia, a historic bastion of U.S. coal production that includes parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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