One Miner Dead, Other Survives 8 Days in Mexican Coal Mine

MEXICO CITY – A miner died and another miner survived spending eight days trapped in a coal mine in northern Mexico, Congressman Miguel Ernesto Pompa Corella said.

The two men were trapped at the La Florida mine in Muzquiz, a town in Coahuila state’s coal region, the lawmaker said in a statement.

Pompa Corella called on the Labor Secretariat to “review compliance with mine safety regulations in the coal region” of northern Mexico.

The miners were trapped on July 30 while working to repair damage caused by flooding and heavy rains in the area.

Miner Plutarco Ruiz Loredo, 44, was rescued on Friday, but Ramon Sanchez Arellano, 36, died, Pompa Corella, who chairs the Chamber of Deputies’ mining affairs committee, said.

“The death of a mine worker puts one more family in Coahuila’s coal-mining region in mourning and sheds light on the negligence of the country’s labor officials in protecting workers,” the congressman said.

“There are no guarantees for the workers, who sometimes even have to pay with their lives for their livelihoods,” Pompa Corella said.

The congressman said he called on Labor Secretary Javier Lozano Alarcon to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations at Mexico’s mines five days before the accident in Muzquiz.

The mine was closed until a month ago and reopened so water could be pumped out.

The La Florida coal mine and others across Coahuila were flooded by the heavy rains from Hurricane Alex.

Sanchez Arellano’s death has once again cast a shadow over the mining industry in Coahuila, where 65 miners died in a collapse caused by an explosion at the Pasta de Conchos mine on Feb. 19, 2006.

The bodies of 63 of the miners ended up buried at the mine despite pleas from their families and the SNTMM mine workers union that they be recovered.

The SNTMM labeled the Pasta de Conchos accident “industrial homicide” and blamed mine operator Grupo Mexico, which is owned by German Larrea, for the miners’ deaths.

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