US$17 million to Recover Bodies at Pasta de ConchosBy Paloma Duran | Wed, 07/21/2021 - 11:50
CFE announced that it will invest more than US$17.16 million in construction, access ramps and the excavation of tunnels to rescue the bodies of the 65 miners who were trapped in the Pastas de Conchos mine in 2006.
CFE announced it is carrying out rescue work on the land that was previously owned by Germán Larrea, which is currently in the process of being transferred to the commission. CFE explained that excavations will be carried out above the carbon layer to reduce risks with the ejection of methane gas. Likewise, CFE assured that measures will be taken to guarantee the safety of the personnel, especially in the ventilation of tunnels and galleries.
In February, President López Obrador announced that the government and CFE were working to recover the bodies of the miners who died in the Pasta de Conchos disaster in Coahuila. “We have already started the recovery work and we are committed to recovering all the miners. The damage that corresponds to the state is being repaired.” López Obrador added that his administration is committed to repairing the damage caused to the miners' families, for which the government will allocate US$10 million.
CFE's strategy is based on the study carried out in 2007 by the Mexican Geological Service (SGM), which was requested by the International Panel of Security Experts linked to the Scientific and Technological Consultative Forum of the CA. Experts agreed that the only alternative to access the Pasta de Conchos mine is the construction of a ramp system with galleries parallel to the mining works, where the explosion occurred.
The government announced that the budget for the Pasta de Conchos Mine Rescue Project will be adjusted according to the needs that arise during the rescue. In a meeting with the victims' wives, López Obrador mentioned that the money is not an important factor and that the government will not limit CFE’s budget. The rescue of the body of the miners is expected to last 36 months from the date the environmental impact resolution is obtained.
In 2006, there was an explosion at Pasta de Conchos’ mine 8 that trapped 65 of the 73 miners working at the site. The accident was due to the accumulation of methane gas and was worsened by the unsafe conditions of the mine. Since 2000, the mine had alarming security reports and the last inspection done was in 2004 and recorded 43 violations, according to Centro Prodh.
Despite these reports, authorities did not monitor the breaches, said Centro Prodh. In 2006, the National Human Rights Commission determined that the company did not guarantee proper working conditions for its employees. Grupo México oversaw the rescue efforts but these were suspended in 2007 as the lives of the rescuers were at risk.