Eight dead in Colombian coal mine explosion

BOGOTA, Aug 6 (Reuters) – A methane gas explosion in a Colombian coal mine killed eight workers on Thursday when a tunnel caved in, authorities said. Five others who had been trapped in the Carminales mine in northern Antioquia province were treated for injuries.

Unlike many mines in this Andean country, Carminales is a legally sanctioned facility equipped with safety features, said Mayor Carlos Londono of nearby town Fredonia.

But the miners did not take normal precautions before entering the kilometer (.6 mile)-deep tunnel on Thursday, said a spokeswoman for Colombia’s Ingeominas mining authority.

“They did not follow security protocols at the moment that they set off an explosive charge. They did not verify gas levels,” the spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity.

Hundreds are killed or injured every year while prospecting for gold or mining coal and other commodities in Colombia. A landslide in the western province of Choco last month killed five people as they panned for gold. (Reporting by Hugh Bronstein)

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