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Eight killed in Turkey mine blast

09 January 2013

According to Hurriyet, eight mine workers were killed on January 7 due to a gas explosion at a coal mine in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak. Burhan Inan, general manager of state-owned Turkish Hard Coal Enterprise (TTK), which operates the mine in Kozlu district, told reporters that the eight were killed in a blast caused by a methane leak. 

Following the blast it was revealed that authorities at the mine failed to implement the recommendations of a damning official report from 2011 that outlined significant safety breaches.

“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 report further revealed that TTK’s operating sub-contractor was not actually a mining firm but a construction company instead. 

Inan told Anatolia News Agency late last month that work safety has been a high-level priority for years following past firedamp explosions and industrial accidents, 

“Sometimes our workers get lost underground and we can’t find them. So we decided to track them with chips in order to locate and reach them easily in the event of these kinds of incidents,” he said. 

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 in the Zonguldak mining coal catchment area, the general manager said. 

The chips are able to detect the location of workers and how far below the surface they are.
Mines, drifts and mine faces – where coal is brought to the surface – are being monitored for coal gas danger as well, according to Inan.

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.

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