9 September, 2020A massive landslide killed 22 workers at the Ziarat marble mountain on 7 September, taking the total number of workers killed in Pakistani mines this year alone to at least 97.
At the time of the accident, around 40 to 50 people were working in the mine located near the Afghanistan border in the Khyber Pakhtunkwa. The landslide covered several nearby mines.
Rescue operations have been impeded by subsequent landslides and it is feared that more people are still trapped under the debris. 25 hours after the accident, one person was rescued alive and search operations continue.
Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL mining director, says:
“Most mines in Pakistan still use old, traditional methods of mining and operate without adequate safety measures. It is unacceptable that most workers do not receive training on safe mining practices and there are no safety personnel at the mines. Government mine safety agencies need to implement strong measures to improve safety in Pakistan’s mines.”
The killings at the Ziarat marble mines appear to be the single biggest fatal mine accident in Pakistan this year. Since January, the country has witnessed incessant fatal accidents in the mines, and not even the Covid-19 lockdown reduced deaths.
According to local sources, at least 97 workers have been killed in the around 44 reported accidents in 2020.
Since 2010, the estimated number of workers killed in Pakistan’s mines is 523. The real number could be much higher.
Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary, says:
“It’s a massacre. Both the central and provincial governments are well informed of the increasing fatalities in Pakistan’s mines. But despite frequent reminders and call for actions, such accidents continue.
“Pakistan cannot wait for more workers dying and must work with national and international agencies, including the ILO and global unions, to improve mine safety. The central and provincial governments must immediately take steps to ratify and implement ILO Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines. IndustriALL will continue to work with its affiliates and social actors to intensify the mine safety campaign.”