Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Bodies of 2 miners located in El Pinabete mine

The bodies of two of the 10 miners trapped underground when the Sabinas, Coahuila coal mine they were working in flooded in August 2022 have been located, the Coahuila Attorney General’s Office announced today.

Military personnel and specialists from the Coahuila Labor Ministry, the state’s Civil Protection body, the Federal Electricity Commission (FCE) and National Civil Protection Coordination (CNPC) worked to locate the remains just over 200 feet underground. The bodies will now be identified and delivered to their respective families.

Rescue attempt at Pinabete
10 miners were killed at the Pinabete mine in Coahuila last year, despite immediate rescue efforts by an international team. (Especial/Cuartoscuro)

A statement from the federal government reported that 2.3 million cubic meters of rock and soil have been extracted during nearly 12,000 hours of uninterrupted recovery efforts at the El Pinabete mine. Given the amount of material necessary to remove from the mine – including water, which has been pumped out with purpose-built pumps – recovering the remains only became possible recently. CNPC reports discussing plans to recover the bodies had been published earlier this month.

El Pinabete reportedly flooded when uncontrolled mining at the site broke into Las Conchas, an abandoned neighboring mine, itself flooded by the nearby Sabinas River. This year, the newspaper El País described El Pinabete as “a tragedy waiting to happen” that lacked “even the most basic safety conditions.”

On May 24, Luis Rafael García Luna Acuña, majority stakeholder of El Pinabete, was arrested by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) in Nuevo León on charges of illegal mining. In July, pre-trial judge José Luis Hernández Hernández granted García a stay and ordered his immediate release. The FGR appealed this decision, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals revoked the stay on Dec. 15.

The El Pinabete tragedy once again drew attention to the precarious conditions faced by miners in Mexico, particularly in Coahuila, where over 60 percent of mining accidents in Mexico take place. This July, almost one year after the collapse, two miners lost their lives in an accident at a different mine in Sabinas, the same city where El Pinabete is located.

With reports from Proceso, La Jornada San Luis

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