Six dead leaves explosion at coal mine in northeast Colombia

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BOGOTÁ, Apr 3 (Reuters) – Six people who worked in an underground coal mine in northeast Colombia, near the border with Venezuela, died from the collapse of the deposit after an explosion due to the accumulation of methane gas, the National Mining Agency.

The accident, the most recent in the mining sector in the South American country, occurred on Thursday afternoon near the municipality of San Cayetano, in the department of Norte de Santander.

In Colombia there are numerous open and underground gold and coal mines where accidents frequently occur, due to the fact that some exploitations are illegal or insufficient safety measures are taken.

In 2019, 114 mining accidents were registered that left 83 dead, while so far this year 35 emergencies have been reported with the same number of fatalities.

In June 2010, 73 people died from the explosion in a coal mine in northwestern Colombia, in the worst tragedy of this type in recent history of the country, the world’s fifth largest exporter of the mineral.

Colombia’s mining industry includes everything from huge deposits exploited by multinationals to hundreds of small, makeshift deposits.

(Report by Luis Jaime Acosta)

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