[Translation of an article from La Tercera of Santiago, Chile, for March 2. See original here.]
by J. Peña and J. Ramírez
Accidents continue since the rescue of 33 miners from the San José mine last October. Falling slabs, cave-ins and explosions are the most common, according to the Servicio de Geología y Minería (Sernageomin – Geological and Mining Service).
The most recent occurred last Monday when an explosion in the Montecristo mine, located 70 kilometers from Taltal, took the life of 19-year-old Jordan Araya Araya, nephew of Hugo Araya Guerrero, 39 years old, who also worked there.
According to figures from the organization, since Luis Urzúa, shift supervisor of “The 33,” and his team left the bottom of the deposit in Copiapó, eleven deaths have been recorded in ten mining accidents.
Four of these, Sernageomin says, have occurred so far in 2011. Fatal accidents have been reported in the Sonia III, Pirquén El Arrayán, Bellavista and Lautaro Sur-Amolanas mines.
The deaths of mine workers continued last year: 45 deaths in 41 accidents. In 2009, there were 35, and the year before, 43.
“Despite the fact that the accident in the San José mine revealed what is happening in mining, so far there have been no great advances toward finding solutions to the problems we have been denouncing,” said Néstor Jorquera, president of the Confederación Minera.
Atacama has the most accidents
“During the 2010 reporting period, the Atacama region has had the greatest number of fatal mining accidents. Thirteen of the 45 were there, that is, 28.9 percent of all the accidents in the country,” Sernageomin reports.
The fatalities registered so far in 2011 reinforce last year’s figures; four of the deaths were reported in that region.