At least five miners died as a result of an explosion at the Sabinas coal mine in the state of Coahuila. At deadline, another nine miners remained trapped below the surface. Mexico’s Labor Secretary expressed pessimism that any of the trapped miners are alive.
The disaster was a reminder of the 2006 tragedy at the Pasta de Conchos coal mine in which the bodies of 63 dead miners were never recovered. Reforms made to Mexico’s mining law after the 2006 explosion were touted as a way to improve mine safety. Yet, Tuesday’s explosion and the 2006 one share the same origin; a build-up of flammable methane gas.
Government oversight of the mine was so lax that regulatory agencies apparently didn’t even have complete or up-to-date information on its operations. The mine, operated by a little-known firm named Binsa, had only been open for 20 days.