Chile miners sue government for negligence

Miners rescued from collapsed mine in October say government responsible for a "lack of safety" at San Jose operation.

    The Chilean miners were trapped for almost 10 weeks in the copper and gold mine [AFP]

    The Chillean miners who endured 69 days trapped underground when their mine collapsed last year are suing the government for negligence saying there was a lack of safety measures.

    The miners were trapped underground from 5 August to 13 October after a cave-in at the San Jose gold and copper mine in the north.

    Thirty-one of the 33 miners in the group have joined the lawsuit against the government, which requests $540,000 in compensation for each of the miners.

    The miners allege that the National Geology and Mines Bureau had failed to carry out proper inspections of the mine's safety and working conditions.

    One of the plaintiffs, miner Claudio Yanez, said the mine had had accidents in the past and at one time had been closed.

    "Everyone knows that in 2005 and 2007 there were two deaths in this mine, and that since then it had always been a dangerous mine," Yanez told CNN Chile.

    "We want what we went through at the bottom of that mine to be recognised. We are here to say that the 31 of us wish that all our suffering, and the suffering of our families, is recognised," miner Luis Urzua told reporters.

    Folowing a spectacular rescue operation, watched around the world, the miners were finally hauled to safely one by one from 700 metres below ground.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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