CONCH - Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston

> Mine Accidents

Mining inspector could have saved Pike River tragedy

A mining expert says the Pike River Coal tragedy could have been avoided, if New Zealand still used a mining inspector program it threw out years ago.
Dave Feickert said a chief inspector would have noticed dangerous levels of gases around the mine and evacuated the men prior to an explosion.
He says while safety officials do monitor mines around the country, the current system is inferior to the inspector program used until the late 90’s.
This wasn’t just one off, it was part of a whole pattern of gas problems they were having. But we do know enough about what had been going on in the months beforehand to know this was a distinct possibility.”

Full Report

In Colombia, King Coal is Dirty Business for Workers and the Environment

On the night of June 16, a methane gas explosion ripped through an underground coal mine near the town of Amagá, killing at least 72, making it the worst coal mine disaster since 1977, when 143 people died in the same town.

Neither of the two tragedies were isolated incidents. In 2009, nine people died in yet another Amagá coal mine disaster. A 2008 accident in Cucumbá took the lives of eight coal miners, while 32 perished from an explosion in February 2007, in the department of Norte de Santander. The list goes on.

Observers say Colombia’s many coal mines operate without sufficient government oversight. The recent Amagá is a case in point. The San Fernando mine, lacked proper gas-detection devices and adequate ventilation.
The safety short-comings are all the more galling given that two years ago, a flood at the same privately-owned mine killed eight.

Worse yet is that the problem is grossly underreported.
“For workers in these types of small and medium-sized mines, the situation is really quite critical.”
Full Article

Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston

Serious accidents in coal mines 2010

See also: Coal Mine accidents 2013 and archives for 2011, 2012

December 7th 2010
26 now confirmed dead in coalmine blast (China)

The death toll from a coalmine accident in Central China's Henan Province rose to 26 after officials confirmed that more workers than previously thought were trapped in the shaft.
Authorities updated the number after learning that a total of 46 workers were in the mine when a gas explosion struck a pit of the Juyuan Coal Industry Company in Mianchi county on Tuesday night.
Supervisors at the mine had reportedly attempted to hide the number of workers operating in the shaft, concealing four bodies to lower the casualty number.

"The management of this coalmine is unbelievably chaotic," said a China Central Television report.

Global Times

November 30th 2010
7 miners found dead in Hunan pit flood (China)

All seven miners trapped in a flooded coal mine in central China's Hunan province Tuesday were found dead early Friday, rescuers said. The bodies were found at the end of the shaft, indicating they were swept there by the gushing flood shortly after the accident happened at 11:38 p.m. Tuesday.
After the accident, a deputy mine manager led 27 workers safely out of the mine.
Despite all-out rescue efforts over the past two days, the spokesman said little progress was made due to serious cave-ins and lack of oxygen.
Yide is a small mine that has doubled its annual output to 60,000 tonnes after recently merging with a neighboring mine. The local safety authority said the mine managers had been warned of potential safety loopholes, both orally and in writing, over the past four weeks.
Senior executives and major shareholders of the mine are in police custody.

China Daily

November 23th 2010
Colombia Recovers Six Bodies After Deadly Coal Mine Accident

Colombian rescue workers recovered six bodies after a blast at a mine killed seven men in central Colombia. The men died after an explosion triggered by methane gas ripped through a mine in the province of Cundinamarca, the state-run Colombian Institute of Geology and Mining said today.
Two other men died in a separate accident in Cundinamarca, the mining institute said.


November 21st
Chinese coal mine flood traps 28 underground

Water flooded a Chinese coal mine today, trapping 28 people carrying out safety work to expand the mine's capacity. It was the latest mining accident for China, which has the world's deadliest coal mines.
It was not clear what caused the flooding, but the official said pumps to remove the water were on the way to the mine in Neijiang city. There was an estimated 4,000 cubic metres of water in the pit, he added.
The official Xinhua news agency said Batian had stopped production and was being upgraded to increase its annual capacity from 50,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes. China depends on coal for 70% of its energy production.

The Guardian (Source AP)

November 19th and 24th
New Zealand mine: 'No survivors' after second blast

All 29 men missing in a New Zealand coal mine since Friday are believed to be dead after a second explosion. Police Supt Gary Knowles said there was no hope that anyone could have survived the "massive" underground blast at the Pike River mine on South Island.


A mining expert says the Pike River Coal tragedy could have been avoided, if New Zealand still used a mining inspector program it threw out years ago.

Australian Mining

Gas levels at the Pike River coal mine are fluctuating dangerously causing the area to once again be evacuated. (11th Jan 2011)

Australian Mining

November 8th
Mine Accident Kills Two in Chile Weeks After Rescue

Chilean officials say a mine accident has killed two workers in the same northern region where 33 miners were rescued last month after 69 days underground. Police say the two victims at Los Reyes mine were 24 and 40 years old, and Monday was their first day on the job. A third worker suffered an eye injury.

Preliminary reports suggest the accident may have been caused by a premature dynamite blast. The National Geology and Mining Service says the mine was illegal and unregistered."

Oversight of mines is spotty in Chile's vast, remote Atacama Desert.

Wall Street Journal / AP

The Chilean government has now closed an illegal copper mine in which two workers lost their lives and another was seriously injured.

Earth Times

October 28
Illegal operation blamed for mine flooding (China)

Officials on Thursday blamed illegal operation for the flooding of a coal mine in southwest China's Guizhou Province that left 12 people dead.
Dapo Mine in Puding County, Anshun City, was operating illegally when the accident occurred. It had been ordered to suspend its operations on Aug. 20, according to a statement from the rescue headquarters.
"This is a typical accident caused by breaches of production regulations and coal mine safety procedures," said Sun Guoqiang, vice governor of Guizhou near the flooded mine.
In addition, one person was electrocuted to death in the mine on Sept. 2, about a month after the suspension order, according to the statement.
Owners of the mine did not immediately report the flooding as required. Instead, they tried to conceal the accident. The police learned about the accident only after receiving reports from mine workers.


October 17th
China mine blast kills 26 and leaves 11 trapped

A deadly explosion at a coal mine in Yuzhou in China's central Henan province killed 26 miners and left another 11 trapped underground. State media said the mine had been hit by a "sudden coal and gas outburst" which unleashed tonnes of coal dust.


Death toll from China's coal mine accident reaches 31

Thaindian News

August 28th
Coal mine explosion causes the deaths of three miners in Tkibuli

Officials say a methane explosion at a coal mine has killed three and wounded seven in Tkibuli, western Georgia. This is the second explosion at the mine this year. In March, a sudden build-up of methane gas caused a blast that killed four miners.
When President Saakashvili visited Tkibuli the morning following the August 27 explosion, he told the miners that ventilation systems had been installed in the mine, but the problem was with absence of 'discipline'. “It is apparent that no safety instructions are actually being given before employees enter the mines.

Georgia Today

August 3rd 2020 -
19 coal workers killed in two mines in China

Gas exploded at a Chinese coal mine Tuesday, killing 10 people and trapping seven just hours after lethal gas leaked into another coal mine and killed nine, state media said.

July 18th 2010 -
28 killed in China coal mine accident

At least 28 workers were killed in a massive fire inside a coal mine in China, the authorities said.

India Talkies

At least 30 miners were killed and 13 more remained trapped in three separate coal mine accidents in China during the weekend, state media reported, highlighting the country's struggle to improve its mine safety record.


June 22nd 2010 –
47 die in China mine explosion

An explosion in a coal mine in central China on Monday killed 47 miners while 28 others were brought out to safety in yet another major mishap in the colliery sector notorious for its accidents. The blast occurred in coal mine when a pack of gunpowder kept underground detonated.

The Asian Age

June 18th 2010 -
30 killed in three accidents in China

At least 30 miners were killed and 13 more remained trapped in three separate coal mine accidents in China during the weekend, state media reported, highlighting the country's struggle to improve its mine safety record.


June 16th 2010
73 miners killed in Colombia

Bodies of 73 miners, killed in one of the disastrous mining accidents in Colombia, were retrieved Friday Jun 25, nine days after a methane explosion rocked the San Fernando coal mine in Antioquia province.
The explosion occured in the mine near the town of Amaga in north-western Colombia on Jun 16. Normally 600 miners work in the mine, but the explosion occurred during shift change, fortunately sparing some lives. Initial reports had said 72 out of 79 miners, working underground at the time of the explosion, died in the powerful methane explosion in the mine.
In spite of lacking a ventilation system for dangerous gases, a basic safety feature, the mine passed a safety inspection provincial just the week before the accident.

One India News

Relatives held a resigned vigil Thursday outside a coal mine in northwestern Colombia where dozens of miners were trapped and feared dead after an explosion that killed at least 16 workers.

Huffington Post, earlier, but more detailed report

Authorities in Antioquia are warning of the risk of disease spreading in the area around the San Fernando coal mine, where an accident killed dozens of miners, as decomposing bodies are still trapped underground, reports AFP
Rendon said that the measures were "necessary because as the days pass, there is more likely to be a presence of an epidemiological situation brought by the decomposing bodies."

Colombia Reports

18th May 2010 –
Gas blast kills 10 in north China mine

At least 10 people are confirmed dead and one is missing after a coal mine gas explosion Tuesday in north China's Shanxi Province.

China Daily

May 11th 2020 –
One worker died, 25 injured: Bangladesh

One Bangladeshi worker died, 25 injured and three other miners still missing while a roof of a tunnel of the Barapukuria coal mine caved in at Parbartipur. The accident took place when a roof fault inside the mine collapsed on 32 miners.


May 8th 2010 -
Raspadskaya mine explosion (Russia): at least 66 dead

The Raspadskaya mine explosion was located near Mezhdurechensk in Kemerovo Oblast, Russia. It was believed to have been caused by a build up of methane. A second explosion c4 hours later collapsed the mine's ventilation shaft and trapped several rescue workers. By 18 May, 66 people were confirmed dead with at least 99 others injured and 24 unaccounted for.
The mine is the largest underground coal mine in Russia, producing 10% of the country's coking coal. It has a history of accidents and safety problems. A worker was killed after part of the mine collapsed in January 2010.


Russian rescue workers stopped searching for 24 men still missing after a mine disaster that killed at least 66 because of fears of new underground blasts.


May 6th 2010 -
4 dead, six trapped in Chhattisgarh coal mine accident, India

A deputy general manager of Public Sector South Eastern Coal Fields Limited (SECL) and three workers were killed and 30 others were injured, a dozen of them seriously, in a blast inside a coal mine today while they were trying to plug a Carbon Monoxide leak at Anjani Hill mine at Chirmiri in Koriya district of Chhattisgarh.

Express India

April 29th 2010 -
Two Dead in Kentucky Mine Collapse

A rescue team has found a second Kentucky miner dead after a roof collapse at an underground coal mine with a long history of safety problems.
Records show inspectors from the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing have issued 31 orders to close sections of the mine or to shut down equipment because of safety violations since January 2009. Those records also show an additional 44 citations for safety violations that didn't result in closure orders. MSHA records show the mine was cited 840 times by federal inspectors for safety violations since January 2009, and 11 times closure orders were issued. The records show 214 of the citations were issued in the first four months of this year, and twice inspectors issued closure orders.

CBS News

A Mine Safety and Health Administration report released last week regarding the deaths of two miners at Webster County Coal's Dotiki Mine in April concluded the deaths "occurred when the mine encountered an anomaly of multiple hidden intersecting slickenslides, commonly referred to as 'slips,' which were not detected by the mine operator."

Journal Enterprise

April 5th 2010 -
Predicted explosion in West Virginia Killed 29 miners

An explosion 300m deep in Upper Big Branch Mine, owned by Massey Energy, in West Virginia killed 29 miners. In 2009, the Mine Safety and Health Administration cited the UBB mine 515 times, often for problems with its ventilation and escape-route plans. Some 48 of the citations were for violations deemed likely to lead to serious injury or illness.
This is not the first time that Massey — the fourth-largest coal company in America — has come under fire for its safety practices. In 2006 two people died in a fire at the Aracoma mine, which Massey owns and which was found to have inadequate water supplies and poor ventilation. Massey paid $4.2m in criminal and civil fines. In 2008 Massey paid $20m in fines levied by the Environmental Protection Agency for clean-water violations.

Wikipedia article about the fatal explosion
What caused America‘s worst mining accident in 25 years? (The Economist)
Two Mines Show How Safety Practices Vary Widely (New York Times)
NEW 7th June 2011: Massey calls mine explosion a natural disaster in report

April 4th 2010 –
300 homes turn into gas chambers

Kitchen fires have literally stopped burning in Fatehpur of Chandankyari block. Villagers have been surviving on dry gram and puffed rice for the last few days as the presence of coal-bed methane in their homes has made it impossible to strike a match indoors for fear of burning the house down. The area is about 34km from Bokaro steel city where Electrosteel Castings Limited is excavating coal from its recently acquired mines.
Fed up with the situation, hundreds of villagers have embarked on an agitation, demanding food for all 300 families of Fatehpur from the administration till the problem was addressed.

The Telegraph

March 20th 2020 -
Rescuers in China Struggle to Free 153 Trapped Miners

Rescue workers in northern China struggled to reach 153 miners trapped a day earlier when water gushed into a warren of tunnels dug for a new underground coal field. Government officials say an additional 108 men scurried to safety as the mine began flooding Sunday afternoon. A preliminary investigation suggests that miners may have broken through to an adjacent subterranean pit where water had been accumulating.

New York Times

Scores rescued from flooded Chinese mine


Poor safety standards blamed for China mine flooding


March 1st 2010 -
China flooded mine traps dozens in Inner Mongolia

Rescue workers are attempting to reach at least 31 miners trapped in a flooded coal mine in the Inner Mongolia region of China, say officials. One person has been killed in the flooded mine, near the city of Wuhai, 1,000km (600 miles) west of Beijing.
China Daily said 77 miners had been working at depths of up to 289m (948ft), when the mine flooded in the early hours of Monday morning.


January 10th 2010 -
Latest China coal mine disaster kills 25

At least 25 miners have died in a fire at a colliery in central China and three others remain trapped, in the latest disaster to hit the world's most dangerous mining industry.


Link to info about next meeting

“While mining employs c1% of the global labour force,
it generates 8% of fatal accidents.”

Barack Obama
Image CC jmt images

“How can we let anyone in this country put their lives at risk by simply showing up to work – by simply pursuing the American dream?”
US President Barack Obama, at the memorial service for the miners killed at Big Branch, Texas

US Mining deaths rise in 2010

Mining fatalities in the United States significantly increased in 2010, following a year marked by the fewest deaths in mining history, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration.
71 miners died on the job last year, compared to 34 in 2009. 48 of those deaths occurred in coal mines.
The leading cause of coal mining deaths was ignition or explosion, followed by powered haulage and roof falls.
US Dept of Labor

Read CONCH's objection letter (link to pdf)

Coalfinger - Greenpeace spoof video