MAC/20: Mines and Communities

COLOMBIA

Published by MAC on 2007-02-28

COLOMBIA

Govt launches plan to decrease mining accidents

Business News Americas

28th February 2007

Colombia's social protection ministry (MPS) has launched a plan to reduce accidents and illnesses that affect miners that operate informally, especially in Boyacá, Norte de Santander and Cundinamarca departments.

Mining "is one of the sectors with the highest number of accident and mortality rates in the country," minister Diego Palacio was quoted as saying in a statement from the president's office.

Many workers in the sector are not affiliated with social security, their basic needs are not met, and they work on inadequate jobsites with unstable technology and poor organization, placing them in a highly vulnerable situation, the statement said.

There may exist nearly 2,000 informal coalmines in Boyacá department alone, it added.

The initiative looks at taking a census of informal workers in the mining sector from the three departments to help outline current work conditions, location of mines and number of employees, among other details.

The goals also include identifying miners under the age of 18 and designing a protective program to take them out of the mines.

The Colombian government recently announced it will review mines within its national borders and close down illegally run coal operations, a measure that is part of a new control plan to avoid accidents like the ones in early February that left nearly 40 miners dead.

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