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El desastre minero de Nueva Zelanda puede replicarse ya que las utilidades suelen valorarse más que las vidas.

3 Enero 2011 , Escrito por El polvorín Etiquetado en #Politica

Pike River mine inquest date set

New Zealand mine tragedy is closer to home than it seems

Las empresas mineras de todo el mundo, demandan niveles de productividad que están reñidos con los procedimientos de seguridad; esto lleva a negligencias en seguridad, para lograr mayores rendimientos y mayores beneficios. Una investigación legal de la tragedia donde murieron 29 hombres en la mina de carbón Pike River Coal, el 1 de noviembre de 2010en Nueva Zelanda, se realizará en enero de 2011. Probablemente se cierre la mina definitivamente. Aún no se puede recuperar los cuerpos.

 

La mayoría de las personas involucradas en la industria de la minería profunda del carbón, sospechaban muy a su pesar, que a los pocos minutos de la explosión en la mina de carbón Pike River en Nueva Zelanda, los 29 hombres desaparecidos, estaban muertos.

 

El daño causado por la explosión en la entrada a la mina, y el hecho de que un minero fue lanzado por la explosión, constituían pruebas de que los hombres dentro del socavón, no tenía ninguna posibilidad de escapar o sobrevivir. Los niveles de gases tóxicos y explosivos, detectados después de la explosión, quitaron toda esperanza, días antes del anuncio oficial de la perdida de todas las vidas.

 

El marketeo vergonzoso del rescate de los 33 mineros en Atacama, es la excepción y no la regla de resultados de rescates, tras los siniestros mineros en todas partes del mundo.

 

El desastre minero de Nueva Zelanda puede replicarse en Inglaterra.

 

27 November 2010 - A fines de noviembre de 2010, 200 mineros fueron evacuados de uno de los mayores socavones mineros de Inglaterra, a causa del inminente peligro de una explosión de metano.

 

La mina Kellingley en West Yorkshire emplea a 600 hombres y es una de las minas profundas de carbón más productivas del mundo, produciendo más de 2 millones de toneladas de carbón al año. Se escuchó una explosión tras el minado reciente y los hombres se apresuraron a alcanzar la superficie. Se necesitaron dos horas para la evacuación.

 

La corporación UK Coal, propietaria de la mina Kellingley, está investigando el incidente con la Inspección de Minas. El secretario de la Unión Nacional de Mineros, Chris Kitchen, declaró que hubo cuatro explosiones, una tras otra, causada como el gas metano acumulado a punto de ignición en varias de las galerías en trabajo. Chris Kitchen, agregó: "Nos preocupa, sobre todo después de lo que ha sucedido en Nueva Zelanda, que algo como esto suceda en Inglaterra."

 

El problema es la productividad: las empresas mineras de todo el mundo, incluidas las estatales, como las de China, demandan niveles de productividad que están reñidos con los procedimientos de seguridad. Esto lleva a negligencias en seguridad, para lograr mayores rendimientos y mayores beneficios.

 

Los resultados pueden ser horribles. En 1934, en mina de carbón Gresford en Gales, 266 mineros murieron en la explosión de un socavón. El desastre llevó a la composición del Himno de los Mineros (the miners' anthem), que siempre se toca en los funerales de los hombres que mueren en los socavones.

 

 No sabemos la causa de la tragedia en Pike River, pero los mineros se están preguntando ¿por qué?, la mina de carbón fue inaugurada hace apenas dos años, no debía haber habido un desastre. Las normas de seguridad en las minas de Nueva Zelanda, al igual que en Gran Bretaña, son tan rigurosas que las muertes y lesiones graves, simplemente no deben ocurrir.

 

Hace unas semanas asistí a la inauguración de un monumento a los 15 mineros muertos en la mina de carbón Kellingley, desde que comenzó a trabajar  en 1958. Fue encabezada por las viudas de dos hombres muertos allí en 2008 y 2009.

 

Sea cual sea el resultado de las investigaciones en Pike River, y en lo que podría haber sido una tragedia aún mayor en Kellingley, Inglaterra, los controladores de la industria de la minería del carbón, en Gran Bretaña, en Nueva Zelanda, y en todo el mundo, deben tener en cuenta que la seguridad de los mineros tiene prioridad sobre los objetivos de producción.

 

 

New Zealand mine tragedy is closer to home than it seems

Only this week, a mine in Yorkshire was evacuated after a suspected methane explosion. Safety must come before profits  

                               Family members of miners trapped in the Pike River coal mine
A policewoman supports family members of miners at the Pike River colliery as they learn of a second explosion.

Most people involved in the deep coal mining industry will have reluctantly suspected, or guessed, that within minutes of the explosion at Pike River colliery in New Zealand the 29 men missing there were dead. The damage caused by the blast outside the entrance to the mine, and the fact that one miner was hurled out by the explosion, was evidence that the men inside the workings had no chance of escape or survival. The levels of toxic and explosive gases detected after the explosion removed all doubts well before the official announcement days later.

 

The New Zealand disaster is closer to home than is at first evident.

 

This week 200 miners at one of Britain's biggest remaining pits were evacuated because of a suspected methane explosion. Kellingley colliery in West Yorkshire employs 600 men and is one of the world's most productive deep coal mines, churning out more than 2m tonnes of coal a year. A blast was heard from recently mined workings and the men rushed to the surface. It took two hours.

 

UK Coal, which owns Kellingley, is investigating the incident with the Mines Inspectorate. The National Union of Mineworkers at the pit says there were four explosions, one after another, caused as methane gas repeatedly built up to ignition point in workings where coal had been removed.

Chris Kitchen, national secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, said this: "We are concerned, especially after what has happened in New Zealand, that with our stringent safety procedures something like this has happened."

 

The problem is productivity. Mining companies around the world, including state-run operations such as those in China, demand productivity levels that are at odds with safety procedures. This leads to the cutting of corners in pursuit of more output to create higher profits.

 

The results can be horrific. In 1934 at Gresford colliery in Wales, 266 miners died in a pit explosion. The disaster led to the composition of Gresford, the miners' anthem, often played at the funerals of men who die in the pits, at ceremonial occasions (and referred to in the recent Cif post by Peter Crookston).

We do not know the cause of the tragedy at Pike River, but the miners there are asking questions about why, in a supposedly state-of-the-art coal mine, opened just two years ago, such a disaster could happen. Safety regulations in New Zealand's mines, as in Britain's, are so rigorous that deaths and serious injury simply should not take place.

A few weeks ago I attended the unveiling of a memorial to 15 miners killed at Kellingley colliery since work began there in 1958. It was led by the widows of two men killed in 2009 and 2008.

 

Whatever the outcome of the inquiries at Pike River, and into what could have been an even bigger tragedy at Kellingley, the controllers of the coal mining industry, in Britain, in New Zealand, and around the world, must be made to take note that the safety of the miners takes precedence over its production targets.

 

 

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Investigación legal de la tragedia se realizaría en enero de 2011

 

Una investigación legal de las 29 víctimas que murieron en el desastre de la mina de carbón Pike River Coal en Nueva Zelanda se realizará en enero de 2011.

La investigación se llevará a cabo en el Tribunal del Distrito Greymouth  - a una hora de la mina donde una explosión de metano atrapó a los 29 hombres bajo tierra, el 19 de noviembre de 2010.

Probablemente la investigación se limite a confirmar las identidades de los fallecidos y, en la medida de lo posible, establecer la causa de la muerte y los marcos de tiempo probables, comunicó el juez Neil MacLean.

"Las cuestiones más amplias acerca de la causa y la prevención posible, puede ser cubierta por la Real Comisión de Investigación, de modo de evitar cualquier prejuicio y permitir otras investigaciones. La indagatoria es probable que sea aplazada indefinidamente después de enero," dijo el juez MacLean. "Quiero hacer lo que pueda para que las familias tengan la información que necesitan para ayudarles a hacer frente a las difíciles circunstancias que rodean esta tragedia", dijo.

La investigación permitirá al Juez MacLean registrar legalmente la muerte y obtener los certificados de defunción para las familias.

Mientras tanto, Pike River Coal Ltd  recibió a los representantes de la PricewaterhouseCoopers para facilitar a la policía un nuevo plan para recuperar lo antes posible, los cuerpos de las víctimas, entre ellos dos australianos.

El avance en Pike River Coal, ha sido lento – las máquinas trabajan para estabilizar las condiciones, pero no están funcionando tan bien como se esperaba y el mal tiempo ha dificultado los esfuerzos.

El vocero John Fisk dijo que sería la policía de Nueva Zelanda la encargada de comunicar la conveniencia de volver a entrar en la volátil mina.

El cierre de la mina podría ser el resultado final "si el plan fracasa, dijo Fisk a Radio Nueva Zelanda.

"Todo lo que podemos hacer es tratar de facilitar el proceso y estamos poniendo todo el esfuerzo en hacerlo," dijo.

 

Pike River mine inquest date set

Updated: 15:56, Wednesday December 22, 2010

Pike River mine inquest date set

A coronial inquest into the 29 men who died in the Pike River Coal mine disaster in New Zealand will be held next month.

The inquest will be held at Greymouth District Court - about an hour from the Pike River Coal mine where a methane explosion trapped the 29 men underground on November 19.

The inquest was likely to be limited to confirming the identities of the deceased and, as far as possible, establishing the cause of death and likely time frames, Judge Neil MacLean said.

'Wider issues concerning cause and possible prevention are likely to be covered by the Royal Commission of Inquiry, so to avoid any prejudice and allow all other investigations to be completed, the inquest is likely to be adjourned indefinitely after the January date,' Judge MacLean told reporters.

He expected to hear the best evidence available from police and other experts.

'I want to do what I can so that the families have the information they need to help them cope with the difficult circumstances surrounding this tragedy,' he said.

The inquest will allow Judge MacLean to legally register the deaths and get death certificates for the families.

Meanwhile, Pike River Coal Ltd receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers are due to provide the police with a new plan to recover the bodies of the men, among them two Australians, on Wednesday.

Progress at the remote South Island mine has been slow - machines working to stabilise the conditions aren't working as well as expected and bad weather has hampered efforts.

Receiver John Fisk said it would be up to the NZ police to make a call on whether to re-enter the volatile mine.

Closing the mine 'could be the ultimate outcome' if the plan failed, Mr Fisk told Radio New Zealand.

'All we can do is really try and facilitate a process and we're putting every effort we can into doing that,' he said.

 

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No miracles left

 

Nov 24th 2010, by The Economist online

 

WHEN an explosion on November 19th at the Pike River Coal company mine, on the rugged west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, trapped 29 miners, the country hoped for a miracle. Everyone thought of Chile, where 33 miners were rescued in October after two months trapped underground; or of New Zealand itself, where a violent earthquake devastated the city of Christchurch in September and everyone was spared. Alas, it was not to be. A second blast on November 24th put the grim toll beyond doubt. The policeman in charge of the rescue effort declared that all the missing men were thought dead.

Although New Zealanders had been hoping for the best, they had been prepared for the worst. The site of the first explosion was only 120 metres underground, but 2km from the mine’s entrance. Not a word was ever heard from the missing men: 24 New Zealanders, two Britons, two Australians and a South African, ranging in age from 17 to 62. 

Rescuers scrambled to the mine’s head but they were stymied by a build-up of poisonous gases. As in Chile, the miners’ relatives assembled, in the nearby town of Greymouth, their anger growing in the face of the official view that a rescue attempt would be too dangerous. In the final days, two robots went in. Poignantly, the second returned with images of a mining helmet, its light still glowing. 

John Key, the prime minister, declared a state of mourning for the nation. Such tragedies are felt keenly in New Zealand, with its population of only 4m, and all the more so on the west coast. One of New Zealand’s remotest regions, cut off from the rest of the South Island by mountains, it was long a centre for coal and gold mining and forestry, though it has recently become more famous for its Tolkienesque scenery. The launch of the Pike River operation in 2008 brought a welcome boost to a depressed local jobs market.

Mr Key has ordered an immediate inquiry. Trading of shares in Pike River has been suspended. New Zealand’s only listed coal company, it specialises in high-quality coking coal for the Asian steel industry. No funding from its main shareholder, New Zealand Oil & Gas Limited, which holds a 30% share, is guaranteed beyond December.

The tragedy has once again focused attention on the dangers of mining. In New Zealand the coal industry is small (producing the equivalent of only 2.8m tonnes of oil in 2009, with 0.1% of the world’s proven reserves) and accidents are infrequent (the last big one, in 1967, killed 19). Elsewhere the industry has become far safer in recent years. But Russia and especially China remain black spots. In China, the world’s largest producer, official statistics own up to 2,600 mining deaths in 2009. On November 22nd however, 29 people were rescued from a flooded mine in Sichuan province. No such fate for the Kiwis.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/asiaview/2010/11/new_zealands_mining_disaster

 

http://static2.stuff.co.nz/1290572468/115/4382115.jpg

 

www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/46433/  Families grieving after hearing news of second explosion at Pike River Coal Mine.

 

www.heraldsun.com.au/news/australian-miner-wi...

 

www.smh.com.au/photogallery/world/pike-river-...  The entrance to the Pike River coal mine. 26 Nov 2010 - Twenty-nine men dead in coalmine tragedy in Greymouth, New Zealand.

Escribió para El Polvorín Blog Malcolm Allison

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