Government Ask Mining Workers to Join Rescue EffortsBy Paloma Duran | Mon, 08/22/2022 - 15:57
The Mexican government called on mine workers to help rescue the 10 miners trapped in Sabinas, Coahuila. In addition, the authorities requested foreign companies to validate a new rescue strategy and join the rescue efforts.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) called on the workers to support the government's rescue efforts, specifically the pumping and extraction of water. To join, mining workers must have proven experience and social security. The ministry has already contacted three coal miners' unions to request three-shift brigades. These brigades are expected to also participate in search and rescue actions once the mine’s conditions are suitable for entry.
The request for mine workers comes after relatives of the victims accused the Secretary of National Defense (SEDENA) of excluding the help of more experienced workers who know the Sabina area better.
In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has contacted a German company to validate the Government's new rescue strategy, which changed after the water level in the wells increased significantly on Sunday, Aug. 14. The new strategy consists of constant pumping and identifying new pit areas through underground mining efforts. In addition, 20 wells will be drilled at the Conchas Norte mine and cement injected to seal leaks.
National Civil Protection Coordinator Laura Velázquez announced that a US consulting firm is expected to join the rescue efforts next week and give a second opinion on the strategy. “We are responding to the request of the families to have an international second opinion. It is essential that they validate that all the conclusions made by the team of specialists are correct and that we are on the right track,” said Velázquez.
What Happened in Coahuila?
STPS reported that on Aug. 3, 2022, at 13:35 p.m., the Las Conchas mine, which started operations in January 2022, collapsed while workers were carrying out excavation activities. The workers are thought to have reached an inner wall separating them from a water-filled adjacent area, which after collapsing caused flooding that trapped them. “The mine started operations in January, to date we do not have reports regarding irregularities,” STPS stated. So far, five workers were able to get out, but 10 more remain trapped and isolated as authorities struggle to reach them.
For several weeks, authorities have been draining the water to enter the mine and rescue the mining workers. However, they have not been successful so far. Relatives of the victims have complained about the lack of transparency provided and progress the government has made.