Entries in Miners (8)


Miners' Strike Threatens South African Economy

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JOHANNESBURG) -- The price of the precious metal platinum is up 20 percent in the past month and is expected to rise even more now that the world's largest platinum producer suspended operations at a mine in South Africa. It comes after a tense standoff Wednesday between police and thousands of workers on strike demanding better pay.  

The Anglo American Platinum mine is near another major platinum mine -- the Lonmin Marikana mine -- where 34 people died when police shot at a crowd of armed protestors in August.  It's being called the "Marikana Massacre" in South Africa, and since then labor unrest has spread and now threatens the country's gold industry.  

Police used tear gas Wednesday to disperse a crowd of striking miners at a Gold Fields mine west of Johannesburg.  Workers there are now demanding the same pay increase as the striking platinum miners.  Gold Fields is the world's fourth-largest gold producer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rescued Miners Visit Israel

Photo Courtesy - RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- It's being called a pilgrimmage of thanks as Israel is treating 25 of the 33 rescued Chilean miners to an all-expenses-paid 8-day tour of the Holy Land. The group arrived Wednesday night.
The 25 Chilean miners accompanied by their wives came off the plane singing with excitement. At their reception ceremony, miner Jose Henrequez said they considered it a blessing to come to the place of the God they prayed to when they were trapped in the mine and give thanks. 

Highlights of the miners' tour will include Jesus' birthplace in Bethlehem, the stations of the cross on Jerusalem's Via Dolorosa, and the church where Jesus is believed to have been resurrected.  Several miners have also decided to be baptised near the Sea of Galilee.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Zealand Mourns for Miners Killed in Blast

Photo Courtesy - Martin Hunter/Getty Images(GREYMOUTH, New Zealand) -- New Zealand is holding a day of mourning Thursday for the 29 miners killed in an explosion last week.

Around the country, flags hung at half-staff, churchgoers gathered at special services and lawmakers broke into a solemn hymn in parliament.

For those like Neville Rockhouse, the father of one of the missing miners, it's tough.

"It's a bad time," he says.  "And it's going to be pretty rough for a while but the families, they stick together, they come through.  And we'll come through."

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has promised some answers, saying, "The government is absolutely committed to running a commission of inquiry that will leave no stone unturned to insure that they get the answers to why their men are not coming home."

Recovery teams say it could take some time to get all the bodies out, given the high levels of explosive gases still present in the tunnels.

All 29 miners were believed to be dead after a second explosion rocked the Pike River Coal Mine on Wednesday.  The initial blast occurred last Friday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


All 29 Miners Believed Dead After 2nd Blast Rocks New Zealand Mine

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ATARAU, New Zealand) -- All 29 men trapped in a New Zealand coal mine are believed to be dead after a second explosion rocked the mine on Wednesday.

Speaking to New Zealand Media, Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said officials said the blast "was an enormous explosion" and that they believe "there's no way anyone could have survived it."

The miners have been trapped at the Pike River mine in the country's western town of Atarau since the initial blast ripped through the mine on Friday.  Rescue efforts ensued, but high levels of toxic gas made it difficult for rescue teams to enter the mine.

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key says, "Questions must now be asked and answered about how such a tragedy was able to occur and how we can prevent another happening in the future."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Trapped New Zealand Miners: Rescuers Still Unable to Enter Mine

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GREYMOUTH, New Zealand) -- It's still too dangerous for rescuers to try to reach 29 missing miners in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Herald reports that gas levels inside the mine are trending down, but continue to fluctuate. Testing will indicate whether it's safe for rescue teams to enter the mine. Experts fear high levels of gas could trigger another explosion.

The miners -- who have yet to be heard from -- have been trapped since Friday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Countdown to Mine Rescue: Chile Miners Prepare to Be Lifted Into Sunlight

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(COPIAPO, Chile) -- The steel capsule designed to rescue 33 men deep in a Chilean mine was tested Monday, and it went so well that engineers said the capsule would be sent back into the earth to make its first rescue at midnight Tuesday.

A source close to the rescue told ABC News that the men could be out in just 12 hours once the operation gets underway.

The miners' families are counting the final hours.  Liliana Ramirez, the wife of Mario Gomez, the oldest miner, said that she is anxious, but happy too -- "Happy that this nightmare is coming to an end."

The men, excited to see their loved ones, apparently want to look their best.  They've asked for shampoo and shoe polish.  The men have endured misery few can imagine.

As the miners and their families count down the hours, every hour now brings news.  The latest news about the cramped rescue capsule is that it's working as planned.  Monday, workers lowered the capsule full of sandbags to the bottom of the shaft and brought it back up safely.

Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said, "This test has been very successful...we are pretty sure that the cage will behave properly as it has been designed during the rescue process.  We already saw that there was no movement inside the cage."

The capsule leaves nothing to chance. A man riding inside will wear an oxygen mask, his heartbeat and body temperature will be monitored, and he will wear a telephone headset to talk with the rescue team above.

Every second of the miners' ascent will be monitored by video camera.  They will be pulled up, one by one, on a twisting, 2,000-foot-long ride.  It will take 20 minutes to get each man to the surface for what is expected to be a jubilant reception.  When the men reach the surface, they will have to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from daylight they have not seen in two months.

The men are taking aspirin because of concerns about blood clotting in the cramped capsule.  Soon, they will begin a liquid diet to cut down on nausea.

The miners have been trapped half a mile underground since August, and this weekend they were cheered when the drill broke through and into their cavern.  A bell announced the breakthrough to the miners' families at the makeshift camp outside the mine gates.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Breakthrough: Drill Reaches Site of 33 Trapped Chilean Miners

Photo Courtesy - HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images(COPIAPO, Chile) -- A rescue drill has reached the underground site where 33 Chilean miners have been trapped since August 5.

Rescuers could begin pulling the men to the surface as early as Tuesday.

Engineers will now use a camera to check the 26"-wide shaft for loose rocks that could tumble on the miners.  They expect to line at least some of the 2,000-foot shaft with ½" steel casing.

"The casing process is not without risks," said Chile's Minister of Mines, Laurence Golborne.  "I mean, you have a 700 meter hole with pipes that weigh 150 tons... If you don't do it in a proper way, you can lose one of the parts or casings, and that could be a tremendous disaster, too."

Golborne said the installation of the steel piping will be checked using X-rays.

Once the rescue begins, a paramedic and rescue coordinator will then be lowered into the hole, and the men will be pulled out one-by-one, according to an exit list.  When the men reach the surface, they will have to wear sunglasses to protect their eyesight from the glare of daylight.

The miners will ride to the surface in a narrow, 21-inch wide capsule, barely larger than an 18-inch NBA basketball hoop.  Several have been put on special diets to make sure they can squeeze into the capsule.

First up will be several skilled men who will ride to the surface to make sure the system works.  There is an escape hatch at the bottom of the capsule if it gets stuck.  Once officials are confident the system is working, the most vulnerable men will ascend.  Healthier men will be pulled out last.  

When the disaster began, mining officials thought a rescue wouldn't be possible until December, but drilling has proceeded faster than expected, giving hope to the families waiting eagerly for their loved ones' return.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Rescue Nears For Miners Trapped Underground In Chile

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(COPIAPO, Chile) -- The 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped 2,300 feet underground in the Atacama desert since Aug. 5 may be rescued in a complex mission involving more than 100 workers by mid-October or sooner, according to government officials. 

"I hope we can rescue them before mid-October," said Chile President Sebastian Pinera.

The next milestone will be the “breakthrough” -- when one of the three huge drills reaches the depth at which the miners have been trapped.  ABC News has learned that this could come as soon as Thursday.  However, it is more likely to happen by the weekend.

Next, the shaft -- or parts of it -- will be lined with steel tubes to protect the men.  Then the shaft will be scanned with cameras to evaluate its stability.  Consequently, it could still be at least a couple of days after “breakthrough” before the specially-designed, 500 pound rescue capsule, known as the Pheonix, is lowered, and the actual rescues begun.

In the meantime, the miners have been exercising with Chilean Military Adviser Jean Christophe Romagnoli by remote control to avoid circulation troubles, improve lung capacity and avoid thorax damage.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio