Tragedy in Peru: 27 workers died in a gold mine fire

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At least 27 workers died in a fire at a gold mine which operated in a remote area of ​​the Arequipa region in the south of the Peru.

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A short circuit would have caused the fire in the mine shaft Hope 1in the province of Condesuyos, according to members of the Police and Prosecutor’s Office present on the spot.

“The information we have from the police station, (is that they are) 27 dead inside the mine“, prosecutor Giovanni Matos told TV channel N, according to the AFP news agency.

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The fire, apparently followed by an explosion, would have spread on Saturday, but only this Sunday the police had confirmation of the victims.

The owner of the mine, Esteban Rey Huamaní, was the one who went to the Tanaquihua police station, located an hour and a half away, to ask for help.

“As soon as the fatal accident occurred, the personnel of the mining company were mobilized; Subsequently, at around 12:45, when the event was reported to the local authorities, staff from the Yanaquihua health center, located about 500 meters from the mine entrance, went to the site to treat the injured people, including They , three rescuers”, reads the document of the regional government of Arequipa.

According to the newspaper El Comercio, since it was a normal working day at the site, it was assumed that there were workers trapped inside.. But the information cannot be confirmed because “there is no way to communicate by telephone from the mine”, according to the authorities. Only on Sunday was it possible to confirm the death of the workers.

The mine affected by the fire is operated by Minera Yanaquihua, a midsize company that has been operating for 23 years and exploits about 15,000 ounces of gold annually, according to information on its website.

As the regional director of Energy and Mines, Yakir Rozas Manya told El Comercio, it is a small mining company that works on a subcontract basis and carries out activities in the process of being formalised. exploit gold. It was also a licensed establishment, Peruvian media reported.

On its website, the Esperanza Mine also reported that it has nine entrances to the mine, all connected to the interior. The exploitation method is based on drilling and the “sustainability of the work is done with wood: frames and safety props”

According to information provided by the authorities, flames ate the wooden props of the goldfield. There are currently no official reports of workers being injured or trapped at the site.

Fire It is one of worst mining accidents in recent years in Peru, the largest gold producer in Latin America. Rescue forces are securing the site to extract the bodies from the mine, about 10 hours by car from the city of Arequipa.

One of the dead was identified by relatives as Federico Mamani, 51.

“We have discovered that there are 27 workers” dead, the brother, who avoided identifying himself, told channel N. The victims would have been buried at a depth of 100 meters in a straight line, according to local Arequipa media.

Several Relatives went to the police station closest to the scene of the tragedy to ask for information on help.

Mining is one of the engines of the Peruvian economy with a share of 8.3% of GDP, and Peru is the world’s second largest producer of silver, copper and zinc; but also the first producer of gold, zinc, tin, lead and molybdenum in Latin America, according to official data.

Despite the high degree of informality in mining, accidents are infrequent. In 2020, four workers died after being trapped inside an artisanal mine hit by a landslide, also in Arequipa.

Source: Clarin

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