Colombia’s inspector general has called for an investigation into the public policy of mine security after several disasters in the industry in recent months, reported local media.
Recent mine collapses in the central state of Antioquia and the southern state of Cauca have promopted Inspector General, Alejandro Ordoñez, to request a full report from the Ministries of Labor and Mines, and the National Mining Agency on the public policy for the protection and safety of persons working in the industry, reported El Espectador.
In late April, an illegal goldmine in Cauca’s northern region of Santander de Quilichao collapsed after a large landslide killing three workers and trappeing up to thirty people.
In another case an explosion at a mine in western Antioquia, also in April, resulted in at least 4 deaths and 95 cases of poisoning from toxic gases.
The Ministry of Labor and Mines requested information regarding the steps that have been taken to regulate the supervision of high-risk companies.
The Ordoñez asked for updates on the health and safety regulations for work undertaken in underground and open pit mining.
Regarding the collapsed mines in Cauca and Antioquia, the Inspector General asked the ministry of labor to verify whether employers of these mines met their labor and social security obligations.
Ordoñez also asked the ministries to take steps inhibit the operation of such informal mines, which endanger the lives and safety of the staff who work there.
Environmental damage and human right’s issues caused by illegal mines throughout Colombian continue to be a problem and have previously brought on international criticism to the country’s government for failing to adequately address the ongoing practice.