CFE Director Manel Bartlett met with family members of the victims of Pasta de Conchos, Coahuila and provided a progress update regarding the recovery efforts of the 63 bodies buried inside the mine which are set to begin during the first trimester of 2022. Bartlett emphasized the operation is delicate and complex, due to the terrain.
Bartlett said local miners will be in charge of the recovery efforts, as it was set in the bidding construction contracts. Recovery excavations began in September 2021. The start of the search is scheduled within the first three months of 2022 and is programmed to last until August 2024. According to CFE, the project consists of three important constructions: a ramp, tunnels, and approximation galleries aimed to recover the bodies of the miners buried inside the mine. Constructions will be done above the coal strata to reduce risks related to sudden methane gas ejection.
In February 2006, Plaza de Concho’s mine 8 experienced an explosion due to methane gas accumulation causing the death of 65 miners and injuring 11. The mine belonged to Grupo México and it was not until April 2007, that the company carried out rescue operations to recover the bodies of the 65 miners. Only two bodies were recovered. Soon after, Grupo México argued that due to safety reasons it was cancelling further recovery efforts. After multiple legal attempts, both nationally and internationally, the Interamerican Court of Human Rights recognized the families' right to recover the bodies of their loved ones.
Since the start of the López Obrador administration, the tragedy of Pasta de Conchos has always caught the president´s attention. In March 2019, the president endorsed rebooting the recovery operation, a promise he made during his presidential campaign a year before. Later, in September 2020, CFE was instructed to lead recovery activities in line with the Integral Plan for the Recovery and Justice for Pasta de Conchos. The Federal Government's main goal is to repair the damage and bring closure to the victims’ families.
To provide continuity to recovery efforts, CFE carries biweekly meetings with the families to share relevant information about the latest operation developments. During Wednesday’s meeting, Claudia Marisela Escobar Pacheco, representing the widows of Pasta de Conchos, delivered Manuel Bartlett a letter addressed to President López Obrador where the families recognized the humanitarian role the federal administration has had in regards to the recovery efforts.