Tag: gold mine

No signs of life as search goes on week after Indonesia mine collapse

Rescue workers have detected no signs of life as the search continued for dozens of people still buried after last week’s collapse of an unlicensed gold mine in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province, an official said Tuesday.  

Scores of miners were buried after a wooden platform they were using at the mine in Bolaang Mongondow district collapsed on February 26 due to unstable soil, officials said.

Searchers found four more bodies and body parts on Monday, bringing the confirmed death toll to at least 13, said Ferry Arianto, spokesman for the provincial search and rescue agency.

Twenty miners were rescued, but two of them died later, he said. It was not clear how many were still buried, with estimates ranging from 30 to 70. 

“We used a life sensor but there were no signs that any victims were still alive,” he said.  

“Only 20 families have so far come forward, because the workers came from outside the area and they didn’t know each other,”      

Deadly accidents in artisanal gold mines are not uncommon in Indonesia.  

There are at least 1,000 such mines across the archipelago, according the Indonesian People’s Mining Association.  

The United Nations Environmental Programme says artisanal and small-scale miners make up 90 per cent of the global gold mine workforce of about 15 million people.

Artisanal miners often work under dangerous conditions, with exposure to mercury used to extract gold from ore among the hazards, the UN said.  

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An Indonesian miner survives 300 meter underground as rescue attempt underway

A rescue operation was under way Sunday to free a miner who has been trapped for seven days in an underground gold mine on Halmahera island in Indonesia’s North Maluku province.

Solo drill operator Mursalim Sahman, 36, is reportedly in good health despite being trapped in a mining chamber 300 metres underground and has maintained contact with his family using a newly installed phone line.

The Gosowong gold mine is operated by PT Nusa Halmahera Mineral (NHM), a joint venture between Australia’s Newcrest Mining, which controls 75 per cent of the shares, and state-owned miner PT Aneka Tambang.

“Earlier this morning we broke through into the chamber where Mursalim is located after completing the boring of a 70-centimetre diameter hole approximately 38 metres deep. This is a significant milestone in developing our primary rescue option,” Newcrest managing director and CEO Sandeep Biswan said in a statement released Sunday.

“Before we attempt the extraction, we will need to line the bore hole so that we can safely bring Mursalim up. It is expected that lining the hole will take several days,” Biswan said.

Local news web site Viva.co.id reported that there were 50 miners who were working in the Kencana underground mine tunnel when it collapsed on Monday, but 49 managed to get out, while Mursalim, who is a native of Halmahera, failed to do the same as he was manning heavy machinery.

The rescue operation has been under way since then. Operation of the company’s underground mines, which produce gold and silver dore, has been halted in the meantime.

A spokeswoman for NHM, Herastuti Haryogyo said the company was able to establish first contact with Mursalim Wednesday at around 10:00 Eastern Indonesia Time (WIT) since the collapse through a 54-meter bore hole with small diameter.

According to the company, Mursalim told the rescue team that he has some food and water supply to go by underground.

The company said a “geotechnical” event of unknown cause spurred the mine collapse, which occurred at 8:30 pm on Monday.

NHM workforce is about 1,700 employees and contractors. It produced 331,555 ounces of gold as of June 2015.