Rescue services and miners gather at the Madenköy mine to wait for news of the missing. Photo: YouTube/Euronews

Turkey: Six miners dead, ten still trapped in landslide

22.11.2016

Six miners have been killed and a further ten are missing following a landslide at an opencast copper mine in South Eastern Turkey.

The incident at the Madenköy copper mine, located near to the town of Şirvan in Siirt province, occurred on the night of 17 November after heavy rains. Around 100 rescue workers are working with machines to remove the tonnes of soil that buried the workers, but hopes of finding them alive are fading.

The Madenköy mine is owned by Park Elektrik A.Ş., which is part of the Ciner group that has other mining operations in different parts of Turkey. The mine is non-unionized and reports say there are four different sub-contracting companies in place. 

An investigation into the landslide has been launched, and the authorities arrested a Park Elektrick employee on charges of criminal negligence.

In July this year, there was another landslide at the mine without loss of life, but workers said safety conditions were inadequate and there were no proper inspections.

After a long campaign by trade unions and IndustriALL Global Union, Turkey ratified the International Labour Organization’s Convention No.176 on Safety and Health in Mines in December 2014. The standards set out in the Convention would go a long way to improving safety conditions in Turkish mines. However, pressure from mining companies has postponed its implementation until June 2017. 

“As the government stalls, miners are dying needlessly. We cannot wait any longer. The government must immediately implement the health and safety recommendations set out in ILO C176 before more lives are lost,” said Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary.