The coal mine in Coahuila where 10 miners were trapped. Photo: Google

By MARK LORENZANA

Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) reported on Thursday, Aug. 4, that 30 members of the Immediate Response and Disaster Team, along with six Special Forces divers, were deployed to Sabinas in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, to rescue 10 workers there who were trapped on Wednesday, Aug. 3, in a 60-meter-deep mine after a landslide.

Laura Velázquez, national coordinator of Civil Protection, also reported that seven water-extraction pumps have been used for the rescue. Velázquez said that five other miners had managed to make it out of the mine at the time of the collapse, and have already received medical attention. Two of the five rescued miners have also been discharged from the hospital.

Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), in his daily morning press conference on Thursday, Aug. 4, told journalists that he would not speak about investigations related to the collapse of the mine, since efforts have been focused on rescuing the miners.

“The investigations will come later. We will investigate those responsible — the permits, the inspections, everything — we are leaving all that for later,” López Obrador said. “We already have the basic information. We already know owns the mines, who exploited the workers, who sold the coal. Everything, we know everything. But let’s not talk about that now. We are going to work to save the miners first.”

In an interview with Mexican daily newspaper El Universal, Guillermo Iglesias, a metallurgical engineer and professor at the Technological University of the North of Coahuila, said that coal extraction should be regulated because of the dangerous nature of the job. Dozens of miners in Mexico have died doing this type of work during the past decade, many of them in Coahuila.

Iglesias said that a mining company must first hire engineers to survey an area to determine if it is safe to do mining operations. However, he said that many mining companies skip the surveying process because they do not want to pay engineers, as this extra expense cuts into the companies’ profits.

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