An explosion at a mine in western Antioquia on Friday has resulted in at least 4 deaths and 95 cases of poisoning from toxic gases, national media reported Saturday. Several miners apparently remain trapped inside the mine.
The explosion occurred early Friday evening at the El Platanal gold mine in Buricita, Antioquia. Rescue efforts have been hampered due to the rainy season, the presence of gases, and lack of machinery with which to aerate the mine shafts, El Espectador reported.
Eduardo Otoya, vice president of corporate affairs at the company Continental Gold, told Radio Santa Fe that the explosion was caused by an industrial material popularly called “crazy dust,” which generates highly toxic gases and has already claimed several lives in the gold mining zone.
According to the Minister of Mines and Energy Amylkar Acosta, the mine where the emergency occurred is “informal,” and distinct from illegal mines that are operated by criminal gangs or armed rebel groups.
In a later correspondence with Caracol Radio, Acosta added the Buriticá mine had been ordered to shut down due to unstable terrain, and lack of sufficient security. Acosta said he does not understand why the order was issued but was not executed in time by local authorities in Buritica.
The municipality of Buricita is located 60 miles north of Medellin, and is largely dedicated to farming, mining, and ranching.
- Accidente en mina de Buriticá, Antioquia, deja cuatro muertos (Caracol Radio)
- Explosión en mina de oro en Antioquia dejó 4 muertos y 95 intoxicados (Radio Santa Fe)
- Asciende a 90 cifra de lesionados por accidente en mina de Antioquia (El Espectador)
- Mina en Buriticá tenía orden de desalojo y no se cumplió: MinMinas (Caracol Radio)