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Coal mine explosion leaves four dead in Pakistan

08 February 2022

An explosion in a coal mine near Quetta, southwestern Pakistan killed four workers on February 5. The blast caused a partial collapse of a mine shaft which meant three more workers had to be rescued following a search and rescue operation.

Image: Inspectorate of Mines
Image: Inspectorate of Mines

The explosion is believed to have been a methane gas explosion which happened in the early hours. Pakistan’s Chief Inspectorate of Mines Abdul Ghani told Pakistani news that the explosion occurred in a mine that was being operated illegally. Ghani said that neither the owner nor operator of the mine could be located following the explosion.

An investigation has been opened by the mine safety regulator to ensure no more miners are trapped inside the affected mine shaft.

Pakistan has an extremely poor record for mine safety with several fatal accidents occurring in both legal and illegal mines alike in recent years. Explosions are usually the result of poor safety training and little to no safety regulations being implemented.

The most recent incidents include an explosion at a coal mine in the Balochistan region near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in March 2021 which killed six miners. Less than a week later, another blast in the same region killed five miners. A further two rescuers also died of suffocation following a subsequent methane gas fire inside the mine. According to government officials, a lack of safety training was to blame for the incident with the miners forgetting to open ventilation within the mine, leading to a build-up of gas.

Government figures show that around 100 coal miners died in Balochistan alone during 2021 in 72 incidents.

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