Thursday, January 3, 2008

South Africa Disaster in a Gold Mine - Kinross Gold Corporation Mine Kills 177 in South Africa in 1986 - now coming to the Futaleufu Valley

[Sep. 29, 1986] Some 2,400 miners were on the day shift last Tuesday morning at the Kinross gold mine, 65 miles from Johannesburg. A welding team was repairing a broken track for one of the trains that help carry gold ore to the surface. Suddenly, an acetylene tank sparked and flared. Flames swept through the tunnel, igniting plastic-covered wiring, which in turn set fire to polyurethane foam that keeps the walls dry and solid. Within minutes the mine shaft filled with thick black smoke containing toxic fumes from the burning plastic. Choking miners immediately fell and died of asphyxiation. When the initial 9 1/2-hour rescue operation ended, 177 were dead, one was missing, and 235 were injured, making Kinross the worst gold-mine disaster in South African history. All but five of the victims were black, and the black-dominated National Union of Mineworkers denounced the "unacceptably low safety standards" in the mines. In fact, Kinross last year lost its top safety rating. But the mine's general manager said the plastics that burned had been considered safe. A government investigation is now under way.

Here is the full article.

More on the Canadian Mining Industry Run Amok: Canadian Mining Industry