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 Post subject: Equadore cave-in traps four miners
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:13 pm 
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
QUITO - A cave-in at a small Ecuadorean gold mine trapped at least four workers on Friday and it was unclear if they were alive, authorities said.

The accident happened with the international spotlight on mining in the continent after this week's spectacular rescue of 33 miners buried deep underground for more than two months in Chile.

The night-shift workers were trapped about 150 meters below the surface after the cave-in happened early on Friday in a southern coastal region near the Peruvian border.

"The information we have is that four people are trapped. They were working the night shift. There is no certainty they are alive. We are seeking information from the mine owners," local provincial official Angel Camacho told Reuters.

About 50 rescue workers were going to the mine, which is run by local company Minesadco, authorities said.

Officials first said one of the four men was Peruvian, but later confirmed that all of them were from Ecuador.

A government mining official, Jorge Espinosa, said water filtration appeared to be the cause. "It seems that an increase in water caused some material to collapse," he said.

The accident happened as Latin Americans were celebrating the operation to save 33 Chileans who were pulled out from deep under the desert on Wednesday.

Since the days of the Spanish Conquest and the hunt for gold, mining has played a central and often tragic role in the region, bringing wealth to some and death to many.

Though safety standards have improved radically in recent decades, there are still many accidents.

One of the worst of recent times took place in Colombia in June when more than 70 miners died after a gas explosion at a coal mine.


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