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Pakistan: mine accidents kill seven coal miners

29 May, 2017Seven workers lost their lives in two separate coal mine accidents at the Sor Range coalfield in Balochistan on 24 May 2017 and at the Lakhra coalfield in Sindh on 25 May 2017. 

Pakistan coalmines are some of the most dangerous workplaces in the world as frequent accidents kill large number of workers. Four workers were killed in the accident at the mine number 98 in Sor Range coalfield mine run by the state-owned Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) on 24 May 2017.

At the time of the accident about 100 miners were working. A portion of the coal mine caved in entrapping four coal miners under debris. Victims of the accident were identified as Abdul Qayyum, Muhammad Irfan, Ali Rehman and Kashmir.

The next day, three workers lost their lives in yet another accident at the Lakhra coalfield in Sindh province, operated Al-Gharib and Company, a contractor of the PMDC. According to news reports, the deceased mineworkers Madad Ali Baloch, Wahid Baloch and Ali Sher Baloch hail from Khanote, Jamshoro district, and are related to each other.

The Lakhra mine had reportedly been closed for few months and poisonous gases had accumulated inside it. No safety check was conducted before entering the mine. Without realizing the impending danger, workers entered the mine to resume work and died from asphyxia due to the gases.

Glenn Mpufane, IndustriALL director for mining said:

“We are pained to note that mineworkers in Pakistan continue to lose their lives at work. We strongly condemn the negligence and lack of action by the authorities to improve safety in the mining sector. We call upon the government of Pakistan to immediately ratify ILO Convention 176 on Health and Safety in Mines and implement the ILO Code of Practice on Safety and Health in Underground Coal Mines.”

Sultan Muhammad Khan, the Secretary General of the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation said, “Punitive actions should be taken against the officials and private operators whose negligence caused these accidents. The government must wake up and take immediate actions to improve workers’ safety at the mines in Pakistan.”