Government recommends closing mine after explosion kills eight workers

Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines recommended the closing of a coal mine where an explosion killed eight workers on Wednesday. The coal mine is operated by Gazuna Mining company and located in the Oyón province, about 180 miles north-east of Lima.

The director general of the ministry’s mining department, Víctor Vargas, reportedly contacted the Regional Energy and Mines Office to recommend mining activities be suspended and the mine closed, state news agency Andina reported.

The ministry said the mining company was operating the site informally. Gazuna was granted a mining concession from the government but had not received environmental licenses to explore and operate copper mining in the area.

The mayor of Oyón, Manuel Delgado, told Radio Programas Peru the workers were killed by an explosion in the mine, which lacked sufficient safety measures. “The explosion was due to gases that are generated in copper mines,” Delgado said. “The workers must have created a spark and that produced the explosion killing them instantly.”

Peru’s Energy and Mining Investment Supervisory Agency, or Osinergmin, reported last December that mining fatalities reached a 10-year low in 2009. Fifty miners were reportedly killed at work last year, down from 54 in 2007, 65 in 2006, and 69 in 2005.

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