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Union blames Mine Owners for Fatal Blast

30.07.2011    source:

The Head of the Confederation of Free Mining Unions, Mykola Koziuberda believes that the blast at the Sukhodilska-Eastern Mine is the result of the owner’s “greed” and the intense pace with which the coal faces are being worked.

In an interview to the Internet Publication OstroV, Mr Koziuberda cited as arguments for this view the fact that there were previously 9 mines working in Krasnodon, whereas now there are only 5 yet the coal output is increasing.

He explained that the working of the coal face has become many times more intense while the ventilation system cannot cope with the gas accumulated there, and it builds up.  “We believe that the tragedy was inevitable. It was going to happen at some time”.

The Sukhodilska-Eastern Mine, like the stock company Krasnodonvuhillya which it is a part of, was sold by the State to private owners. It has for many years belonged to the company Metinvest which is controlled by National Deputy from the Party of the Regions, Rinat Akhmetov.

In a statement expressing condolences, Akhmetov says: “"Unfortunately, working conditions in Ukrainian mines are extremely hard” but asserts that the mine owners are constantly working on improving conditions.  He asserts that they will “continue to buy the best technical equipment which will make the work of miners safe”.  Akhmetov has promised to pay the families of each miner who died 1 million UAH.

The opponents of Ahmetov whose fortune, according to the Korespondent journal, is valued at almost 26 billion USD, consider the amount which the mine owners are promising to comfort the families of those killed, is pitiful when compared with the money that private companies should be investing in new equipment for the mines and for ensuring miners’ safety.

The Luhansk branch of the Ukrainian People’s Party issued a statement after the blast in which it asserts that the equipment provided to Luhansk region mines “does not comply with technical requirements since it is obsolete and anyway, as a rule, is only provided on paper. This is the reason for the death of the miners.  This is the reason for the frequent tragedies and human loss”.

The President has instructed the Prosecutor General to investigate the reasons for the blast during the night of 29 July which killed at least 20 miners. (updated from other Internet sites)

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