Thursday, November 23, 2006

No survivors in mining tragedy


23 dead in Tuesday’s gas explosion in the Halemba mine in Ruda Slaska, southern Poland.

It was a build of methane gas that set off the explosion, 1000 meters below ground. Shocking, of course, but unfortunately not that shocking. Around 20 miners die a year in Polish coalmines. Collieries measure acceptability of the death rate by measuring one death by tonnage of coal mined.

Twenty deaths a year is bad but during communism around 150 people were killed a year in this way.

The recent chronology of the worst mining accidents in Poland looks like this:

2002: 10 miners killed in a coal dust explosion in the Jas-Mos mine in Jastrzebie Zdroj.

1998: 6 miners with damaged oxygen masks asphyxiated after being sent into a shuttered shaft in violation of security regulations at the Niwka-Modrzejow mine in Sosnowiec.

1991: 5 killed in cave-in at Halemba mine in Ruda Slaska.

1990: 19 killed in methane gas explosion at the Halemba mine in Ruda Slaska.

1987: 19 miners killed in coal dust explosion at Myslowice mine in the town on Myslowice.

1979: 34 killed in coal dust explosion at the Dymitrow mine in Bytom.

1974: 34 killed in coal dust explosion at the Silesia coal mine in Czechowice-Dziedzice.

11 comments:

geez said...

Just wondering where you got the stat that 150 a year were killed under communism?

beatroot said...

It was on the Polush news yesterday morning. But I will try and get some textual evidence for you today...

The 150 figure comes from the year 1989, when 150 died in mining accidents. It was quite normal in those days and nobody seemed to give a shit.

Which is horrid: but just to get it in to perspective, each year in China, THOUSANDS of miners die in accidents.

krucaFuks said...

23 people? that'a far less than number of people who gets killed by drunk drivers every week...

Jannovak57 said...

A truly dangerous business, methods and safety practices count for a lot, as in 2004 China reported 6027 deaths in coal mines were as the US produced about half of China’s production but lost only 28 miners. This means the Chinese have death rate of over 100X the US when extracting the same amount of coal. In Poland coal production is about 20 to 25% of the US figure.

The US death rate in coal mining is 30 per year for (2000 to 2005). Clearly the Polish figure of 20 per year seems too high.

On the topic of coal mining, in light of the abundance of coal in Poland are there any proposals for Coal-to-Oil processing plants being considered. This technology has already been used in Germany and South Africa.

Renegade Eye said...

In addition to the gas dangers, there is black lung disease, in that field.

troutsky said...

There must be profit enough in it to cover death benefits, lawsuits etc.

opamp said...

In Poland coal production is about 20 to 25% of the US figure. The US death rate in coal mining is 30 per year for (2000 to 2005). Clearly the Polish figure of 20 per year seems too high.

Some of the difference could be caused by the fact that Poland does not practice coal strip-mining, which is a very effective yet much less dangerous method.

On the topic of coal mining, in light of the abundance of coal in Poland are there any proposals for Coal-to-Oil processing plants being considered.

Yes; it was mentioned in the media earlier this year and described as economically sound. I am however not aware of any funding being granted (yet).

mullet said...

must be, troutsky.

it's awful - this tragedy.

Obviously better health and safety regulations are called for....but lets hope Poland finds a happy medium with that.

Redwine said...

"Obviously better health and safety regulations are called for" - call it utopian. I, for one, haven't seen a mine yet close to safe. And it cannot be, possibly.

beatroot said...

Polish mines are the most methane gaseous in Europe. There have been corners cut in health and safety, equipment is not the best. The shaft where the explosion happened had been closed down for half a year since a cave in. So the gas built up from neglect. The miners were down there doing maintenance or something when it exploded.

Hektor Hamulec said...

It was tragic, this event. It was heart warming that the Pope said something about it today, in Polish. Still, it was a dreadful catastrophe.