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04.08.2011

No End to the Deaths in Ukraine’s Mining Disasters

   

 

The death toll in the two mining disasters last week in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions has reached 37, and two miners are in a critical condition In hospital.  At the Sukhodilska-Eastern Mine, owned by billionaire and MP from the ruling Party of the Regions, Rinat Akhmetov, there was a methane explosion, while at the Bazhanov Mine at Makiyivka an elevator collapsed.

“If you’d seen it”

According to the Russian TV channel NTV, specialists call the explosion at the Sukhodilska-Eastern Mine typical for mines of the Donbas region which are considered among the most dangerous in the world because of the sudden methane build-ups.   This latest disaster was also methane, but then why did the gas explode?  That is either due to problems with the electrical equipment which there is plenty of in the mine, or the mining work carried out just prior to the tragedy.  For the moment there is no answer also to how the special detectors supposed to warn the miners of a sudden methane build-up.

One of the miners, who introduced himself only as Ihor, has resigned following the death of his friends. His interview in Russian can be viewed here

He told NTV: : “The level of methane on the upper roof should be 0.5 to 0.75%. There it’s 5%  Can you imagine, at the wall, if there’s a build-up, the detector shows 12%; they air it a big then move on.”.  He said that he had lost his best friends and can’t look at it.

The Trade Union Committee of the Bararkov Independent Miners’ Committee has issued a statement pointing out some of the questions that the enquiry commission should address, .  They ask why at least two major disasters, one at their mine on 11 March 2000 when 80 people died and the other at the Sukhodilska-Eastern Mine on 9 June, killing 73 men, took place just after a visit or supposedly comprehensive check of the mine.

Why, they ask, do men have to risk their lives to earn a decent wage?

In order to receive a highly rate, a worker has to “show initiative”, apply new progressive methods. That is, the worker has to decide himself how he should work.  What that basically means is that the workers employed by the Krasnodonugol Company are forced to infringe safety rules since they can’t earn more than the lowest wage if they don’t.

Why do all State commissions look only at the fact directly leading to the death of miners, but never analyze the reasons behind these terrible and inevitable tragedies?

They predict that the commission will yet again blame the workers themselves and then in a month, for Miner’s Day, the officials at the Mine and of Krasnodonugol responsible for safety will receive departmental and government awards.  This, they say, has been the case before.

The NTV report and photo are from http://www.ostro.org/articles/article-224266/

 

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