Expert report finds Turkey’s mining directorate at fault for role in Ermenek mine disaster
Bülent Sarıoğlu ANKARA
AA PhotoAn expert report prepared for the probe into the recent mine disaster in the Turkish town of Ermenek has found the Energy Ministry’s General Directorate of Mining (MİGEM) guilty of indirectly causing the accident, as it allowed the mine to be reopened although detected deficiencies were not remedied after an inspection in August.
MİGEM shut down the mine on June 15 due to deficiencies, but later allowed production to resume on Aug. 15 and did not conduct sufficient inspections later, despite the danger remaining, the expert report said.
The Has Şekerler and Ermenek mining companies that run the mine were also found at fault for the accident in the report, though the technical supervisor, permanent supervisor, and 18 miners were found to not at all responsible.
The company ignored warnings by technical teams and MİGEM regarding accumulated underground waters and gases since May, the report stated.
The last warning to the company to conduct an underground drill to detect possible water or gas overflows was made only three days before the fatal accident.
The flood that hit the mine was not a natural disaster as it was caused by hydrostatic pressure created by waters accumulated in the former production galleries over years, the report also stated, adding that the accident could have been prevented if control drills were conducted as often as required.
However, the report dismissed the argument that the accident was exacerbated by the miners taking their lunch break underground without leaving the mine, saying this was a common practice across the world.
“The accident could have happened at any time, it was just a bad coincidence that it happened during the lunch break,” it said.
Eighteen miners were trapped underground after a flood at a coal mine in Ermenek in the Karaman province on Oct. 28. A total of 10 miners’ bodies have been recovered from the mine so far, while efforts are continuing to locate the remains of the other eight.