Death toll rises to eight in cave-in at cop­per mine

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

In­di­ans queue up out­side a bank to with­draw cash in Ah­mad­abad, In­dia, yes­ter­day. In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, in his Novem­ber 8 tele­vised ad­dress, an­nounced de­mon­eti­sa­tion of In­dia’s 500- and 1,000-ru­pee notes, which made up 86 per cent of the coun­try’s cur­rency. The gov­ern­ment’s sud­den de­ci­sion to with­draw large-de­nom­i­na­tion cur­rency from cir­cu­la­tion has caused enor­mous hard­ship to mil­lions of peo­ple in the coun­try’s pre­dom­i­nantly cash-based econ­omy. WARSAW (AP): THE DI­REC­TOR of a Pol­ish cop­per mine said on Wed­nes­day that res­cue teams have re­cov­ered the bod­ies of the last three work­ers who were miss­ing in­side the mine after it caved in.

The dis­cov­ery brought the death toll from the cave-in trig­gered by an earth­quake on Tues­day night to eight.

Di­rec­tor Pawel Markowski called the min­ers’ deaths the great­est tragedy for the cop­per min­ing com­pany KGHM in 55 years.

Five other min­ers have been hos­pi­talised but their lives are not in dan­ger, and a few oth­ers es­caped un­scathed.

Markowski said the vic­tims ranged in age from 23 to 50. Res­cuers used bare hands and light equip­ment in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions to reach the vic­tims, he said

The tremor oc­curred shortly after 9 p.m. Tues­day some 1,100 me­tres un­der­ground in the Rudna mine in the south­west­ern Pol­ish town of Polkow­ice. The Ger­man Re­search Center for Geo­sciences re­ported a mag­ni­tude-4.5 shal­low earth­quake in the re­gion at the time of the cave-in.

Min­ing au­thor­i­ties and prose­cu­tors have opened in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the cave-in.

Rudna is Europe’s largest cop­per ore mine, and one of the big­gest in the world, with out­put ca­pac­ity of 12 mil­lion tons of ore a year.

CON­TIN­UED

Spokes­woman Jolanta Pi­atek said work con­tin­ued Wed­nes­day in other ar­eas of the mine, which is op­er­ated by the KGHM Pol­ska Miedz, or Pol­ish Cop­per Com­pany.

Pi­atek said Tues­day’s ac­ci­dent brings to 15 the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties at KGHM fa­cil­i­ties this year, 13 of them in cop­per mines and two in cop­per mills.

In 2013, 19 min­ers were trapped in the Rudna mine fol­low­ing a lo­cal tremor and a cave-in, but they were res­cued with no ma­jor in­juries.

Prime Min­is­ter Beata Szydlo, a miner’s daugh­ter, vis­ited the mine, of­fer­ing sup­port for the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies. Health Min­is­ter Kon­stanty Radzi­will vis­ited the hos­pi­talised min­ers.

Poland’s law­mak­ers ob­served a minute of si­lence and prayed for the vic­tims. Pres­i­dent An­drzej Duda, on a state visit to Swe­den, ex­tended his con­do­lences to the min­ers’ fam­i­lies and pledged state sup­port for them.

Known as the Pol­ish State Min­ing and Me­tal­lur­gi­cal Com­bine un­der com­mu­nism, KGHM went through re­struc­tur­ing and par­tial pri­vati­sa­tion in 1991 as Poland shifted to a mar­ket econ­omy.

AP

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