Archive | Mining Accidents, Deaths, Cave-Ins and Industrial Disease

‘Mine 9,’ movie about a coal mine entrapment, opens Friday (Associated Press/Bradenton Herald – April 8, 2019)

 

https://www.bradenton.com/

CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA: A film whose chilling theme is known all too well by residents of coal producing states — an entrapment inside an Appalachian mine — opens in theaters this week.

“Mine 9” debuts Friday in West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. It’s expected to roll out nationwide starting next week, news outlets reported.

New Martinsville, West Virginia, native Eddie Mensore wrote, produced and directed the film, which takes place deep inside a coal mine where nine miners with a limited oxygen supply are trapped after a methane explosion. Continue Reading →

Coal’s deadly reality: Heartbreaking TV doc reveals the dangerous truth about modern mining – by John Doyle (Globe and Mail – January 21, 2019)

 

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

In the craven debacle that is U.S politics in the Trump era, coal miners played an important supporting role for a while.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump pledged to “get those mines open” and bring back a lot of coal-mining jobs. Famously, at a rally in West Virginia, he put on a miner’s helmet, imitated a miner shovelling coal and brayed: “For those miners, get ready, because you’re going to be working your asses off.”

It worked. In Kentucky, for instance, he won every county with a history of coal mining by huge margins. In the larger scheme of things, the oft-repeated declaration of advocacy for coal miners and steelworkers transmitted a devotion to working men and women in declining industries. Continue Reading →

India disaster exposes lack of enforcement against deadly illegal mines – by Roli Srivastava Reuters U.S. – January 4, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Ongoing efforts to reach victims of a mining disaster in northeastern India have exposed what campaigners say is poor enforcement against such illegal mines, where undocumented workers risk injury or death.

At least 15 people were trapped when an illegal coal mine in Meghalaya state flooded on Dec. 13. Rescue efforts continue, although relatives said this week they had lost hope that the miners were still alive.

Environmental concerns have led to India imposing bans on the mining of coal, mica and sand, among other minerals. Yet, workers across the country continue to put themselves at risk as illegal mining continues. Continue Reading →

Trapped Miners Reveal Dirty Secret Of Meghalaya’s Elites – by Silvester Phanbuh (Huffington Post India – December 31, 2018)

https://www.huffingtonpost.in/

The disaster has cast an uncomfortable light on how some of the wealth in cities like Shillong comes from the narrow, unstable tunnels of the rat-hole mines in the countryside.

KSAN, Meghalaya — On 11 December, Melambok Dkhar (22), Dimonme Dkhar (20), Shalabas Dkhar (20), three cousins from Lumthari village in the East Jaintia Hills district, showed up at the illegal ‘rat-hole’ coal mines of Ksan to earn a little extra money for Christmas.

“From the bottom of the mine, the light of the surface literally looked this small — that was what they told me after their first day,” said Pressmeky Dkhar, bringing his thumb and index finger together. Pressmeky is Melambok and Dimonme’s youngest uncle. “The brothers never wanted to work at the mine for too long — just to make some quick money, help at home, and spend during the Christmas season.”

Three days later, the cousins were amongst the 15 miners trapped when waters from the adjacent Wah Lytein river flooded the mineshaft. Now, as Christmas gives way to the new year, the families of these three young pillars of the Lumthari village community are slowly giving up hope of ever seeing their sons alive. Continue Reading →

An Epidemic Is Killing Thousands Of Coal Miners. Regulators Could Have Stopped It – by Howard Berkes, Huo Jingnan and Robert Benincasa (National Public Radio – December 18, 2018)

https://www.npr.org/

Greg Kelly’s grandson, Caden, scampers to the tree-shaded creek behind his grandfather’s house to catch crawdads, as Kelly shuffles along, trying to keep up. Kelly’s small day pack holds an oxygen tank with a clear tube clipped to his nose. He has chairs spaced out on the short route so he can stop every few minutes, sit down and catch his breath, until he has enough wind and strength to start out again for the creek.

“I just pray that the Lord give me as much time as I can with him,” Kelly said, his eyes welling with tears. “He just lightens my life. I want to be as fun with him as I can. And do as much as I can with him.” Caden is 9 years old, and even at his age he knows what happened to his paw-paw at the Harlan County, Ky., coal mines where Kelly labored as a roof bolter for 31 years.

“That coal mine made your lungs dirty, didn’t it?'” Kelly recalled Caden asking. “Yeah it did. … And I can’t breathe and I have to have my backpack to breathe,” Kelly told him. It’s a familiar tale across Appalachia. Continue Reading →

The End of a Once Mighty, Still Deadly Industry: the Canada Letter – by Ian Austen (New York Times – October 19, 2018)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Canada’s positions on issues like same-sex marriage, immigration and, most recently, recreational marijuana have given it a reputation for progressiveness. But the government’s announcement this week that it was banning asbestos, a potent cause of cancer, came decades after many other nations took the step.

For more than a century, asbestos was a ubiquitous miracle fiber. Sprayed on the steel structure of buildings and inside ships, it suppressed fires. It was found in a type of home insulation and in roofing tiles, and was used to seal heating ducts.

Asbestos was mixed with concrete to make pipes, woven into flameproof fabrics, and made into gaskets, building supplies and a variety of industrial goods. But inhaling even small quantities of its fibers could be deadly. Continue Reading →

South Africa Gold-Mining Companies Pay High Price to Keep Digging – by Alexandra Wexler and Thandi Ntobela (Wall Street Journal – October 7, 2018)

https://www.wsj.com/

Three big South African gold-mining companies lost a combined $543 million last year—and human deaths rose for the first time in a decade

JOHANNESBURG—South African gold miners have literally dug themselves into a hole, with the world’s deepest mines threatening the safety of workers and the companies’ ability to make money.

Powered for decades by the cheap labor of apartheid, the country’s deepest gold mines plunge almost 12,000 feet below the earth’s surface—and have provided nearly half the gold bullion and jewelry ever produced.

But as miners have dug ever deeper to retrieve what remains of the world’s largest gold deposits, they have faced an economic and moral conundrum: Gold at these depths is costlier and more dangerous to mine. Continue Reading →

Coal Harms Miners, Too – by The Editors (Bloomberg News – September 25, 2018)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(The Bloomberg View) — By now, black lung disease was supposed to have mostly gone away. The coal industry was supposed to have improved air quality in the mines enough to prevent miners from inhaling the coal dust that inflames, stiffens and blackens their lungs. In fact, the incidence of this deadly and incurable disease is rising.

Bear this in mind the next time President Donald Trump says coal is “clean” or “beautiful,” and moves to encourage use of the world’s dirtiest fuel.

In the late 1990s, the incidence of black lung fell to 5 percent among longtime miners, from more than 30 percent in 1960s, after mine-dust regulations were imposed and systems were put in place to monitor miners’ health. But now the incidence is back up to 10 percent. In central Appalachia (Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia), one in five miners are stricken. Continue Reading →

Philippine Miners Trapped in Typhoon: Drawn by Gold, Drowned in Mud – by Hannah Beech (New York Times – September 17, 2018)

https://www.nytimes.com/

ITOGON, Philippines — A month ago, Jes Feliciano struck gold. The ingot was the size of a coin, and it brought the 16-year-old miner more money than he ever imagined.

On Monday evening, Mr. Feliciano got a reminder that what the Cordillera Mountains give, they also take away. That is when he identified the body of his uncle, Mordecai Bahatan, one of dozens of miners feared killed when a torrent of earth, loosened by a typhoon’s rain, engulfed their encampment in the mountains.

The bounty of the Cordilleras, which form the northern spine of Luzon, the main island in the Philippines, is legendary: gold, hydropower and fertile farmland. But the mountains’ danger is equally fabled to the people who make the cloud-wreathed peaks home. Continue Reading →

Philippine leader again vows to shut mines after deadly landslides – by Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – September 17, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte repeated his call on Monday to shut all mines in the country following deadly landslides, hours after his minister halted all small-scale mining in a mountainous gold-rich region.

“If I were to try to do my thing I will close all mining in the Philippines,” he said, presiding over a televised meeting of the government’s disaster response team two days after a powerful typhoon struck.

Duterte has often criticized the mining industry, saying the environmental damage far outweighs any benefit to the economy. His latest comments followed an order earlier by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu to stop all small-scale mining in the Cordillera region, where landslides killed 24 people. Continue Reading →

100 miners feared buried – by Raymund Catindig (The Philippine Star – September 17, 2018)

https://www.philstar.com/

TUGUEGARAO, Cagayan – Nearly 100 people are feared dead in a landslide that buried a mining shelter in Itogon, Benguet during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong on Saturday. Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said the small-scale miners were trapped in a bunkhouse buried by a landslide.

Along the path of devastation left by Ompong (international name Mangkhut), officials said at least 56 people were confirmed killed mostly in landslides in mountain areas.

Earlier, two rescue workers died in a landslide in Itogon while trying to retrieve several people buried in the mud. Palangdan said rescue workers retrieved as many as 30 dead from the mining bunkhouse. Continue Reading →

Service acknowledges ‘silent epidemic’ of occupational disease – by Keith Dempsey (Sudbury Star – September 11, 2018)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

The original memorial at Leo Gerard Workers’ Memorial Park contains the names of hundreds of workers who have lost their life on the job.

A new display board, which contains the names of 36 individuals who have lost their life due to occupational disease, was introduced during a moving ceremony on Monday, during which family members who lost a loved one were presented with flowers.

“This has a great atmosphere of remembrance, an atmosphere of honouring those who have died,” JP Mrochek, a WSIB worker representative with the United Steelworkers Local 6500, said. “I hope that people who come to read these names think about how (to) limit those names, reduce those names.” Continue Reading →

‘Will I Come Back Dead?’ Human Costs of South African Gold – by Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – September 9 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

After more than two decades of improving mine safety since the end of apartheid, South Africa’s progress has stalled with an increase in gold-mining deaths.

More than 50 people have died in the country’s mines in 2018, roughly the same number as this time last year. While annual death tolls are far lower than the 615 in recorded in 1993 — the last full year of apartheid — 2017 witnessed the first rise in 10 years.

Most of the gold mining fatalities are due to workers being crushed under falling rocks, caused by more frequent tremors as companies dig deeper for the precious metal, in some cases reaching depths of more than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). The government is investigating Sibanye Gold Ltd.’s operations, where over half the gold mining deaths occurred this year. Continue Reading →

Last man out after 1958 Springhill mine disaster dead at 95 – by Anjuli Patil (CBC News Nova Scotia – September 9, 2018)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/

Herbert Pepperdine spent more than 8 days underground after deadly 1958 bump

The last man to emerge from the ground after the 1958 Springhill mining disaster has died at age 95. An obituary posted Sunday for Herbert Pepperdine stated the former coal miner died Friday in hospital in Springhill, N.S.

“He was just a treasure to the community. He started working in the mines when he was 14 years old and even after ’58, after he was trapped eight-and-a-half days, he works 10 more years in the last working mine that was in Springhill,” said Tony Somers, a tour guide at the Springhill Miners Museum.

The disaster, known as the bump (like an underground earthquake), occurred Oct. 23, 1958. There were 175 men in the mine at the time; 75 of them were killed. While Pepperdine would occasionally talk about the 1958 disaster, Somers said it wasn’t something he enjoyed. Continue Reading →

Author to recognize potash mine accident sign books (Moab Times Independent – August 23, 2018)

http://www.moabtimes.com/

A gathering to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the tragic Cane Creek Potash Mine Explosion near Moab will be held on Aug. 26 and 27.

The Museum of Moab and the Grand County Historical Preservation Commission are sponsoring the event at the Grand Center at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27. David Vaughn will facilitate the night’s event and Kymberly Mele, the author of the book, “Disaster at Cane Creek,” will be one of several speakers. Mele will also sign books before this event, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the same location. The book is a comprehensive account of the 1963 Cane Creek underground potash mine explosion.

A gathering has also been planned for the previous day, Aug. 26, at the Cane Creek Mine Explosion Monument at Intrepid Potash Company (current owners of the facility) west of Moab at 4 p.m. This will be a chance for many to gather near the mine site and see the Cane Creek Monument. For those who need a ride to the mine site they may contact Vaughn. The mine site is located at the end of Potash Road on Hwy. 279. Continue Reading →