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

Iamgold under fire for alleged poor disclosure over miner death at Rosebel site in South America – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – August 9, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Shares in Iamgold Corp. fell 14.6 per cent Thursday – their steepest drop in nearly five years – as the Canadian miner faces heavy criticism for its alleged poor disclosure over the death of a miner at a South American mine site.

Last week, the Toronto-based company suspended mining at its second-biggest mine, Rosebel in Suriname, after an “unauthorized” artisanal miner was killed, following a confrontation with police. Iamgold said the fracas, which involved an unspecified number of artisanal miners, also caused equipment damage. The company said there are continuing security concerns for its staff at Rosebel.

Artisanal mining is common in Africa and South America, often involving impoverished locals mining by hand. While occasionally legal, artisanal miners often trespass on concessions controlled by international mining companies. Continue Reading →

Protests over worker deaths paralyze production at some Coal India mines – by Jatindra Dash (Reuters U.S. – July 29, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

BHUBANESWAR (Reuters) – Members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have mounted protests that have paralyzed production at one of India’s biggest coalfields following a deadly accident last week.

The BJP workers have been staging sit-down protests and waving flags at state-run Coal India Ltd’s mines in the eastern state of Odisha, demanding a safety audit of all mines in the region.

Rescue officials said they have recovered the bodies of three workers who were trapped inside the mine in Odisha’s Angul district after a landslide on Tuesday, and are trying to recover another body from inside the mine. Continue Reading →

‘Poverty-driven’ artisanal mining in spotlight after tragedy hits Canadian miner’s Congo property – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – June 29, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

‘You need to find alternative ways for these guys to work’

The death of dozens of artisanal miners in Congo on the property of a Toronto-Stock Exchange-listed Canadian company highlights the fraught relationship between overseas mining companies and local communities.

At least 43 artisanal miners have reportedly died while digging for cobalt — a vital metal for the batteries found in smartphones, tablets and electric cars — on a spot of ground that overlooks Katanga Mining Ltd.’s vast Kamoto Copper Complex.

Throughout much of Africa and other parts of the world, artisanal miners are often found near mines, taking grave risks to scour tailings or waste rock in search of valuable metals. Their numbers appear to be growing, along with tragic accidents, which has provoked questions and challenges for mining companies. Continue Reading →

Steel contributes $225K to research – by Mia Jensen (Sudbury Star – June 29, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

The United Steelworkers announced Friday that they are committing $225,000 over the next three years to Laurentian University’s Centre for Research in Occupation Safety and Health.

As the only centre for occupational health and safety research in Northern Ontario, CROSH’s goal is to partner with workers, workplaces, communities and governments to tackle relevant workplace challenges.

The centre uses a field-to-lab-to-field approach to their research. Researchers engage with industries and communities in the field to understand the problems they are facing. Then they bring their findings to the lab at Laurentian University to troubleshoot evidence-based solutions, before bringing those solutions back to the workplace to be tested in the field. Continue Reading →

OUR VIEWS: GLENCORE TRAGEDY SHOWS WHY MINING SHOULD BE DONE HERE (Mesabi Daily News – June 29, 2019)

https://www.virginiamn.com/

As news filtered out Thursday that Glencore had established itself as the majority shareholder of PolyMet, which is looking to build Minnesota’s first-ever copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes, devastating headlines about the Swiss-based company were also breaking.

At least 43 “illegal miners” died at a Kamoto Copper Company mine, operated by Glencore’s subsidiary Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Glencore later said the incidents were not linked to the official “operations and activities” of the mine.

While clandestine miners, who access sites without approval or permits, are a common occurrence in Congo and across Africa according to Reuters, the incident raises several questions in light of Glencore’s new role on the Iron Range. Continue Reading →

CORRECTED-Glencore’s Congo tragedy highlights security conundrum for miners – by Edward McAllister and Mitra Taj (Reuters Africa – June 30, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

DAKAR/LIMA, June 30 (Reuters) – The deaths of 43 illegal miners at a Glencore facility in Congo last week highlighted a growing challenge for mining companies struggling to secure sites from small-scale prospectors digging for cobalt, copper and other minerals.

Many mines span hundreds of square kilometers across rural terrains, a tantalizing prospect for illegal miners, also known as artisanal miners, who break into sites in search of metals, some of which end up in electric cars and other products.

But even as last Thursday’s tragedy ratcheted up pressure on companies to make changes to security and community outreach, industry consultants and analysts say the task will be difficult given the geographic constraints and economic challenges faced by the world’s estimated 40 million artisanal miners. Continue Reading →

Glencore Says 19 People Were Killed in Congo Mine Collapse – by William Cloves and Thomas Biesheuval (BNN/Bloomberg News – June 27, 2019)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc said 19 illegal miners were killed when part of a mine collapsed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Glencore shares fell as much 8.3%. The workers entered the mine without permission and put their lives at risk by trespassing on the industrial site, which is one of the world’s biggest cobalt mines, according to a statement from the company on Thursday. A search and rescue operation is ongoing. The incident will not affect Glencore’s production.

Producers and authorities in Congo and other African countries face a constant struggle against illegal miners, who break into operational and shuttered mines to extract ore and don’t follow official safety procedures. Continue Reading →

[Falconbridge] ‘I thought the smelter had blown up’ – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – June 21, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Electrician Gary Hrytsak was taking a brief nap during a coffee break at the Falconbridge smelter complex about 10:05 a.m. June 20, 1984, when he got thrown off the bench he was on.

“It was an eerie feeling,” recalled the now-retired Hrytsak during his speech at the 35th Workers’ Memorial Day ceremonies at the Caruso Club on Thursday. “You could feel things shaking under your feet … I thought the smelter had blown up.”

Hrytsak, who went on to do compensation, health and welfare work for his union (Mine Mill and Smelter Workers Local 598), said he put on his respirator, went to the electrical shop and telephoned his foreman, only to be told to stay where he was. Continue Reading →

Coal miners daughters story told at Davis Day ceremony in Springhill – by David Mathieson (Amherst News – June 14, 2019)

https://www.cumberlandnewsnow.com/

SPRINGHILL, N.S. – Springhill mining history came to life at the 2019 Davis Day service June 11 at the St. Andrews-Wesley United Church in Springhill.

“As was the practice in those days, the eldest son, Donald, my grandfather, went to work at a man’s job at the age of 13 to support his family,” Shawna Canning said to the crowd gathered for the service.

Born in 1913, Canning’s grandfather, Donald Arthur Campbell, was named after his grandfather who was killed in the 1891 explosion that killed 125 miners. Donald began working at the mine at the age of 13 after his father, John Campbell, was injured at the mine and was unable to work again. Continue Reading →

Coal miners’ union urges silica regulation to curb black lung – by Jan Pytalski (Reuters U.S. – June 6, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

PIPESTEM, W.Va. (Reuters) – The head of the national coal miners’ union on Thursday urged the Trump administration to impose regulation on silica dust in mines, which researchers believe is responsible for a resurgence of black lung disease in central Appalachia.

The demand from United Mineworkers of America president Cecil Roberts comes as President Donald Trump tries to pump up U.S. coal production, mainly by rolling back regulations he deems burdensome to the industry.

“We are seeing the most serious levels of black lung, mainly caused by silica and there are no silica standards out there,” Roberts told Reuters on the sidelines of a black lung disease conference in West Virginia. “We desperately need more.” Continue Reading →

‘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 →