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news 10 Sep 14

Bosnia to Close Mine Where Five Died in Quake

Part of the Raspotocje colliery in Zenica is to close for good, following the death of five miners there last week.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Bosnia's Federation entity, and the power company Elektroprivreda BiH, which jointly own mines in the entity, have decided to close the Raspotocje mine where five people died last Thursday when a quake trapped them underground.

In a meeting with the miners' union on September 9 it was decided that an expert team will work on finding alternative ways to continue exploiting coal on the site, with a promise that no miners who worked there will lose their jobs.

“There is no way that exploitation of coal in that colliery can continue,” the president of the miners' union in the Federation, Sinan Husic, agreed.

“They need to invest and create more secure conditions for [mining] work in that area,” he added.

Energy Minister Erdal Trhulj pledged new investment in security for miners generally.

“Investments will go in future in the mines... to more mechanized work, to steel roof supports, hydraulic roof supports...and on equipping surface mines with modern rotary excavators," he said.

After Thursday's earthquake caused two underground tunnels to collapse, rescue crews worked through the night to reach the trapped miners on Friday morning.

The miners themselves made efforts to build an escape route by clearing the rubble brought down by the earthquake.

Out of 34 miners on the shift, 29 were rescued alive. The five who did not survive were taken out during the weekend and buried on Monday.

Elektroprivreda, the entity government and the miners' union promised financial help for their grieving families.

Meanwhile, mine inspectors will investigate the circumstances of the last week's accident, which happened some 800 metres underground.

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