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

[Australia] ‘Coal miners stick together and we bleed black’ (Queensland Times – March 23, 2017)

WE BLEED black. That is what Bundamba MP and Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Select Committee chair Jo-Ann Miller said about coalminers and their families in a forthright speech to parliament today.

Ms Miller moved that the the House take note of report No. 1 of the Committee, titled Inquiry into the re-identification of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis in Queensland-interim report. Ms Miller started off by telling the parliament that coalminers are a tough breed.

“As a coalminer’s daughter and granddaughter, I know this well,” she said. “We stick together and, as we say, we do not bleed red; we bleed black. “Unfortunately, that is so true of black lung disease. Continue Reading →

Mining’s ‘good news story’ – by Len Gillis (Sudbury Star – February 19, 2017)

No one can say for certain when it happened the last time, but Ontario’s mining industry is basking in what might be the best “good news story” to come along in quite awhile. No one died in a mining accident last year in Ontario.

In all of 2016, there was not one mining fatality and Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said everyone in the industry deserves a pat on the back because of it.

In an interview with The Daily Press, Flynn said labour leaders, mining managers and the rank-and-file workers can all take a bow for looking out for each other and for themselves. Flynn said it might have been seen as mission impossible, but now everyone knows it can be done. Continue Reading →

Lonmin reports lower output as protesters demand compensation – by Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.K. – January 26, 2017)

LONDON – Lonmin LML.L reported weaker than expected output on Thursday, causing analysts to raise doubts over 2017 production targets, and faced demands for compensation following the shooting of 34 miners at Marikana in South Africa’s platinum belt.

The company reiterated its sales guidance for 2017, but said larger shafts, known as generation 2, had disappointed and production from them was 5.2 percent lower in the final three months of last year than in the previous year.

The production shortfall added to steep losses for Lonmin’s volatile share price. It was down more than 16 percent by 1230 GMT. The wider sector was roughly flat. .FTNMX1770 Continue Reading →

[First Nickel mining deaths] ‘Waiting for justice’ (Part 2 of 2) – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – January 23, 2017)

Accent: Union, families feel criminal charges warranted through Westray provision

The silence was gut-wrenching in a Sudbury courtroom last year for the families of two men attending preliminary proceedings into charges in the deaths of their loved ones May 6, 2014 at Lockerby Mine.

The families of Norm Bisaillon and Marc Methe attended court after eight charges were laid against mine owner First Nickel Inc. and five were laid against Taurus Drilling Services by the Ministry of Labour.

Bisaillon, 49, and Methe, 34, were killed by a fall of ground at FNI’s Lockerby Mine, just hours after they contacted an FNI employee to discuss a concern about the area in which they were working, their families say. Continue Reading →

[First Nickel mining deaths] Sudbury Accent: Grieving families wait for answers (Part 1 of 2) – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – January 21, 2017)

On Sunday, May 4, 2014, Norm Bisaillon was considering his options. Bisaillon, 49, was employed by Taurus Drilling Services, but was thinking about leaving Sudbury for another job. He told partner, Romeena Kozoriz, “I’m going to be going to the Yukon.”

Bisaillon was working for Taurus at First Nickel Inc.’s Lockerby Mine. He had 23 years’ experience at several companies.

“He never, ever was afraid to work in a place, OK, and he worked in South Africa where there’s no safety, there’s nothing,” said Kozoriz of Bisaillon’s 18-month stint there. “He wasn’t as concerned (there) for his safety as Lockerby.” Continue Reading →

After Jharkhand toll, 2016 one of deadliest years for mine workers – by Anil Sasi (Indian Express – January 3, 2017)

Eastern Coalfields, where the latest accident has taken place, is a subsidiary of State-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL), the world’s largest coal miner.

Thursday night’s mine collapse at Eastern Coalfields Ltd’s Lal Matia coal mine in Jharkhand rounds up one of the deadliest years for those toiling deep in the bowels of the earth.

The 17 mine worker deaths reported till January 1 sharply push up the mining fatality count for this year, which stood at 65 across both coal and non-coal mines during just the first six months of this year, for which latest data is available — translating into a fatality every three days. More than a dozen workers remain trapped.

In a sector whose safety record is far from inspiring, at least 122 people more were documented to have met with a serious accident during this period, which translates into a serious accident every one and a half days. With a fatal accident every three days, mining is arguably the most dangerous profession in India, alongside ship-breaking. Continue Reading →

Black Lung, Incurable and Fatal, Stalks Coal Miners Anew – Editorial (New York Times – December 24, 2016)

Appalachian health officials report a shocking rise in cases of black lung — the deadly coal-mining disease thought to have been reined in by a landmark federal law passed in 1969.

Young miners are proving particularly vulnerable because the thinner coal seams now being worked in Appalachia leave them vulnerable to a more volatile black lung strain rooted in silica dust, according to an investigative report by National Public Radio.

The emergence of a new generation of miners gasping for their lives should give President-elect Donald Trump, who has vowed to revive the industry, reason to reflect on a safer course for the very workers he claimed to prize as a candidate. There is no known cure for black lung, a wearying disease responsible for 78,000 deaths since 1968. Continue Reading →

Asbestos, Que., a town left pondering its name in wake of proposed ban – by Ingrid Peritz (Globe and Mail – December 17, 2016)

MONTREAL — To Canadians and much of the world, the word “asbestos” is synonymous with poison and a slow, painful death. But to 7,000 people in southern Quebec, the word is the name of their home. Now they are struggling over whether to turn their backs on it.

Ottawa’s announcement this week that it would ban the fibre has revived a debate in Asbestos about changing the town’s name, a symbolic gesture that would, in effect, wipe the product and the word off the map.

“To improve the economy, I’m ready to analyze all proposals, including changing the name,” the mayor of Asbestos, Hugues Grimard, said in an interview on Friday. “People are talking about it. I’m not closed to it.” Continue Reading →

Advanced Black Lung Cases Surge In Appalachia – by Howard Berkes (National Public Radio – December 15, 2016)

Across Appalachia, coal miners are suffering from the most serious form of the deadly mining disease black lung in numbers more than 10 times what federal regulators report, an NPR investigation has found.

The government, through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, reported 99 cases of “complicated” black lung, or progressive massive fibrosis, throughout the country the last five years.

But NPR obtained data from 11 black lung clinics in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, which reported a total of 962 cases so far this decade. The true number is probably even higher, because some clinics had incomplete records and others declined to provide data. Continue Reading →

[South Africa] HIV/Aids in the mining industry: what are we doing about it? – by Dale Benton (Mining Global – December 11, 2016)

More than 40 million people worldwide are infected with HIV, and it is estimated that 26 million of these are workers aged 15-49 – the prime of their employable years. As such, the impetus is on workplaces in affected countries to action wellbeing programmes for their people.

Apart from the obvious – and absolutely paramount – moral and human incentive of encouraging testing and providing treatment, the benefits of workplace testing can have a ripple effect: bettering not only the lives of those infected, but their families, co-workers and the population at large. The strength of a prevention programme is important to prevent new cases from occurring. Research has shown that continuous gender inequality and poor knowledge on sexual and reproductive health, certainly among adolescents, feeds the spread of the virus.

All parties – from employers to co-workers – benefit when infected parties are detected as early as possible and provided with the correct treatment to allow them to survive. Continue Reading →

7 dead in latest China mine blast; 60 miners killed in week (Victoria Times Colonist – December 6, 2016)

The Associated Press – BEIJING, China – Seven coal miners are dead and another four still missing after a gas explosion in a central province in the latest deadly accident to strike China’s mining industry, authorities said Wednesday.

Rescuers were still trying to reach miners trapped underground after the Monday night blast in Hubei province, according to a statement from the local propaganda department. Rescue workers are pumping air into the mine shaft to aid the rescue effort.

Five miners were able to escape immediately after the blast. It was the third major mining accident in one week, causing a total of 60 deaths. China is the world’s top producer and consumer of coal. Deadly workplace events occur frequently despite a stated public commitment to improving worker safety. Continue Reading →

China Warns of Safety Risks as Rally in Coal Price Spurs Mining – by Chuin -Wei Yap (Wall Street Journal – November 30, 2016)

BEIJING—A deadly quarry collapse in northeast China this week reflects a surge in dangerous mining activity across the country as coal prices soar, following a government warning that the rally poses increased casualty risks.

The warning, in a report in early November, came as informal data have shown sharp increases in colliery casualties this year, with November the deadliest month so far.

On Tuesday, 22 workers were trapped when a shaft caved in at Qitaihe City Jingyou Coal Mine, a desolate outpost in China’s northeast, state-run Xinhua News Agency quoted rescue workers as saying on Wednesday. The cause wasn’t immediately known, nor was it clear whether any of those trapped had survived. Continue Reading →

Inside India’s mines: Between Jan and June 2016, a death every third day – by Anil Sasi (Indian Express – November 9, 2016)

New Delhi – * Just after the dawn on May 28, a mining accident at the Turamdih Uranium Mine near Jamshedpur, run by the state-owned Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL), killed three miners. 24-year-old Sonaram Kisku, a tribal contract worker, 42-year-old safety officer Surya Kant Singh and Milan Karmakar, 35, a general foreman died after they accidentally got buried under the wet radioactive slurry that they were reportedly clearing at a depth of over 250 metre in the Turamdih mine, 6 km from Jamshedpur in Jharkhand.

* Three workers of Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) — T Hanmantha Rao and G Posham, both were timbermen, and D Kistaiah, a mason — were crushed to death when a portion of the roof of a structure inside the coal mine collapsed on them when they came in to drink water around mid-day on April 14. Of the four workers at the Shanthikhani main site near Mandamarri, one escaped with minor injuries.

Including the six lives that were lost in the two recent accidents, there were a total of 65 deaths during the first six months of this year in a series of accidents at the country’s coal and non-coal mines — translating into a fatality every three days. Continue Reading →

Asbestos Mining Town in Canada Searches for New Identity – by Matt Mauney ( – November 7, 2016)

Asbestos wasn’t always an ugly word. Once hailed as a miracle fiber in manufacturing and construction, it is now scorned for its toxicity and link to mesothelioma and other deadly respiratory diseases.

Perhaps no place knows that fall from grace better than the small town of Asbestos in southeast Quebec. Not only did the asbestos industry give the Canadian mining town its name, but it also shaped its identity, economy and legacy.

The now defunct Jeffery Mine, which occupies nearly one-sixth of the town’s 12 square miles, was Canada’s largest asbestos mine and served as the town’s main employer when it shut down in 2011.At its peak, the open-pit asbestos mine employed more than 2,000 of the town’s 7,000 residents. Now, five years later, Asbestos is searching for a new identity and a way to rewrite its legacy. Continue Reading →

Missing miners found dead after China coal mine blast (Deutsche Welle‎ – November 2, 2016)

All 33 miners who were trapped in a coal mine following an explosion in Chongqing, China have been confirmed dead. Chinese work safety officials have promised to “strictly punish” those responsible for safety lapses.

The dozens of coal miners who were trapped underground in a gas explosion earlier this week have all been found dead, reported Chinese state media on Wednesday.

The bodies of the last 15 missing miners were retrieved from the privately-owned Jinshangou mine near the southwestern city of Chongqing, the official Xinhua news agency said – bringing the death toll up to 33. Only two workers managed to escape Monday’s blast. Over 200 rescuers worked around the clock but were unable to find any survivors. Continue Reading →