Coal mine blast stirs debate

Coal mine blast stirs debate

ZONGULDAK - Doğan News Agency
Coal mine blast stirs debate

DHA Photo

Authorities at a Zonguldak mine in which eight workers were killed Jan. 7 failed to implement the recommendations of a damning official report from 2011 that outlined huge safety breaches, according to reports.

“It is a coincidence that a fatal incident has not occurred yet [at the Kozlu coal mine],” read the report which was prepared by the Turkish Audit Courts for Turkish Parliament’s public economic enterprise body in 2011. The eight mine workers were killed due to a gas leak at the mine in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak.

The state-owned Turkish Hard Coal Enterprise’s (TTK) was in efforts to “increase safety” at the mine.
Reports said the miners were overcome by a large amount of methane gas after they opened a coal deposit.

The report further revealed that TTK’s operating sub-contractor was not actually a mining firm but a construction company instead. “The firm failed to take the necessary measures regarding work safety,” according to the report. The report also included many negative former reports about the mining company.

“Energy cables can cause explosions,” one of the previous official reports was quoted as stating in the report.

CHP criticizes gov’t

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu put the blame on the Labor and Social Security Ministry and called on the families of the dead workers to take legal action. “The government’s impassiveness regarding work accidents has unfortunately caused the deaths and injuries of workers,” Kılıçdaroğlu told his party’s group meeting yesterday in the Turkish Parliament.

A total of 2,554 miners were killed and more than 13,000 lost the ability to work between 1991 and 2008. Turkey has the worst safety record in terms of mining accidents and explosions in Europe and the third worst in the world, according to reports.

In Turkey’s worst mine disaster, a gas explosion killed 270 workers near Zonguldak in 1992.

Around 2,000 workers are currently being tracked with imported LED chips and the TTK is planning to extend this coverage to all 8,800 employees working underground at the Zonguldak mining coal catchment area, Burhan İnan, general manger of the state-owned Turkish Hard Coal Enterprise (TTK), said Jan 7