Mining giant AngloGold Ashanti has been accused of responsibility for war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, says Human Rights Watch.
Trade unionists said smoke was hampering rescue efforts.
|Police at the entrance to the Zasyadko mine [AFP]|
“There is thick smoke in the shafts and, for the moment, rescue teams are unable to go where they are needed,” one trade union official at the mine, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
In 1999, an explosion claimed 50 lives, while in 2001 another explosion killed 50 people, and 20 people were killed in an accident in 2002.
Official statistics put the total death toll in mining accidents in Ukraine this year at 80, though independent trade unions say the figure is higher. Last year, 170 miners died.
Post-Soviet Ukraine’s most deadly mining accident was in March 2000, when 80 miners were killed in a coal dust explosion at a colliery near the eastern town of Luhansk.