Saturday, June 15, 2024

First two contracts awarded in project to recover bodies of 63 miners in Coahuila

Preparations for an operation to recover the bodies of 63 of 65 miners who died in an explosion in a Coahuila mine in 2006 are set to begin, but it will be some time before the remains of the deceased men are brought above ground.

The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) announced Tuesday that construction of some of the infrastructure required for the recovery mission at the Pasta de Conchos mine would begin soon.

Only two bodies were recovered after the methane explosion at the Grupo México-owned coal mine in San Juan de Sabinas. Tunnels will be built for the operation with the intention of recovering the other 63.

The companies Desarrollo de Terracerías and Proacon México have been awarded a 308.9-million-peso (US $15.2 million) contract to build shafts into the mine, the CFE said in a statement. Construction is expected to begin this month and is slated for completion by April 2023.

Another contract is likely to be awarded next month for the construction of additional infrastructure including access ramps and tunnels. It’s anticipated that that work will be completed over a period of 20 months.

A third phase of the project will involve more preparations for the recovery of the bodies, including degassing of the mine and its stabilization, as well as the actual search for and retrieval of the miners’ remains. No time period has been set for the completion of that stage, but it’s scheduled to begin in May 2023.

At a meeting on Tuesday at which the recovery plan was outlined, Labor Minister Luisa María Alcalde thanked CFE director Manuel Bartlett for his commitment to the families of the victims, for whom the tragedy has had no end.

She previously spoke about the federal government’s plan to return the miners’ remains to their families two years ago.

President López Obrador announced in May 2019 that he had ordered a recovery operation.

“… We cannot turn our backs on the pain of humanity. This is a humanist government. So we are going to carry out this action,” he said at the time.

At Tuesday’s meeting in Nueva Rosita, the municipal seat of San Juan de Sabinas, a CFE engineering chief working on the rescue project noted the president’s commitment to recovering the bodies. Vicente Arévalo Mendoza also gave an update on the information provided to the victims’ families at meetings the government has held with them.

Thirty-four family members have been employed by the CFE to work on the project, 18 of whom remain in paid positions.

The Pasta de Conchos tragedy is one of numerous coal mine disasters in Mexico that have claimed lives. The deadliest was the Rosita Vieja mine disaster in 1908, in which 200 miners, most of whom were Japanese immigrant laborers, were killed.

Mexico News Daily 

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