Monday, June 17, 2024

Body recovered in Chihuahua mine accident but 6 still missing

One body has been recovered from the site of a burst dam at a mine in Urique, Chihuahua, but searchers continue to look for six people who have been missing since Monday.

The dam containing mineral tailings burst Monday morning at the Cieneguita gold and silver mine, sweeping away miners who were working nearby as well as machinery and vehicles. Two workers were rescued minutes after.

About 150 people have been searching the 12-kilometer course of the spilled water, the state Civil Protection office said.

Governor Javier Corral Jurado traveled to the area yesterday and met with relatives of the missing miners. He said the priority was finding the missing workers and protecting the Tubares river at the bottom of the watershed.

Federal environmental officials also arrived yesterday to to inspect for damage. However, mine personnel said the tailings were not dangerous.

Attorney General César Augusto Peniche Espejel said a formal investigation has begun.

The head of an environmental organization claimed that cracks had appeared in the dam four months ago but nothing was done about it. Víctor Ortiz of Fundación Río Conchos said various experts had warned of the cracks but they were discounted as potential risks common at all mining operations.

The two survivors were transferred to hospital in the city of Chihuahua, where their health was reported as stable.

The mine is owned by multinational mining company Río Tinto.

Source: Milenio (sp), La Silla Rota (sp), The Washington Post (en)

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