Two dead in Colombia coal mine explosion
Two miners died, three more were wounded and several more could be trapped underground in a coal mining explosion in Colombia, the latest tragedy in a series of deadly mining accidents.
Fabian Morales, the head of rescue operations at mining regulator Ingeominas, said the accident was apparently the result of an explosion of methane gas in a coal mine located in the department of Boyaca, near Bogota.
Morales added that the rescue team had yet been unable to determine how many other miners had been trapped by the explosion. So far this year, 106 workers have died in mining accidents in Colombia.
Colombia is the world’s fifth-largest coal exporter and its production destined for abroad is controlled by foreign companies including Alabama-based Drummond Co., Glencore International AG (GLDLF, GLEN.LN), BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP, BHP.AU) and Xstrata PLC (XTA.LN), which operate in open-pit coal mines.
But most of the deadly mining accidents in Colombia occur in small, underground coal mines operated by individuals or small local companies that have few safety procedures in place. The output from most of these mines is destined for the domestic market.