Thirteen years on and the bodies of those killed in the Pasta de Conchos mine disaster may finally be recovered.
Tuesday, 19 February marked the 13th anniversary of the Pasta de Conchos tragedy in which 65 workers were killed by an explosion at the mine owned by Grupo Mexico. Mexico's president, Andrés López Obrador, announced that he would look into the possibility of recovering the bodies of the 63 miners still below ground.
The President expressed his support for finding the remains of the dozens of miners still buried in Coal Mine 8 owned by the mining company Grupo Mexico, in Pasta de Conchos, Coahuila. The initial search for survivors was called off just five days after the explosion, and the bodies were never recovered.
During a press conference, Mexico's president said that he would look into the possibility of recovering the bodies, as this would help to heal wounds and bring national reconciliation and justice for the victims' families.
"In this case, we will not rule out the option of the company willingly agreeing to conduct a search for the remains of those who were left trapped in the mine. This would be a great step towards achieving reconciliation between the parties and at the national level as well. World experts should be brought in so that excavations can be organized and the bodies recovered. Anything we can do will help to heal the wounds."
On the same day, the Los Mineros miners’ union, an affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union, organized a march and a rally in memory of the miners killed in this industrial homicide. The event was held at the entrance to the General De Hulla facilities at Mine 8.
In addition to union members, it was attended by: family members of the deceased miners; USW's National Director for Canada, Ken Neumann; USW International's Director of International Affairs, Benjamin Davis; and president of Los Mineros and Mexican Senator, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia.
At the event, the leader of the Miners’ Union said:
"This tragedy has lasted for 13 long years. Right from the beginning, we have had three key demands, which we reiterate today:
1. For the bodies in the mine to be recovered.
2. For the families affected by this industrial homicide to receive just and fair compensation.
3. And for the investigation into the causes of Grupo Mexico’s negligence to be reopened and those responsible punished."
He said that he would do everything he could to ensure that these demands were met and that experts brought in to conduct technical studies with a view to recovering the workers' bodies.
IndustriALL Global Union's regional secretary, Marino Vani, said:
"IndustriALL stands by the families of the deceased miners and supports Los Mineros in its relentless fight and its plight to restore the dignity of the victims of this tragedy."