CMJ readers know about the successful rescue of 72 potash miners after MOSAIC’s K1 and K2 mines had an underground fire on Jan. 29 (CMJ Net News Feb. 1). The training and heroics of the mine rescue teams have been the subject of praise worldwide. Canadian regulations and miners have been much admired. The idea of mandatory rescue stations is being talked about for U.S. mines now.
But not every country tries as hard as Canada to create a safe underground workplace. Miners in some parts of the world die needlessly every year. The Jan. 2 explosion in the Sago coal mine in West Virginia hit the North American media with the force of an Arctic blizzard. On Feb. 18, an explosion ripped through a Chinese coal mine, killing 214 miners. The same day two people were killed and one injured in an accident at the President Steyne mine in South Africa, which belongs to Toronto-based THISTLE MINING. Sixty-five Mexican coal miners were trapped in a coal mine explosion in Coahuila state on Feb. 19, and hope of their rescue is dimming.
Reporting the deaths of miners worldwide could turn into a full-time job, one I don’t want. I mention the tragedies merely as a reminder to our readers that safety has to come first. Be vigilant in the workplace (above or below ground) and ensure the entire crew goes safely home at the end of the shift.