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Chile: Trapped miners to go unpaid thmbdn.gif

Sunday, September 19, 2010

By Federico Fuentes

Thirty-three miners trapped 700 metres underground in northern Chile have been told they will not be paid in coming months, despite the fact it is expected to take close to two-and-a-half months to pull them out.

Representatives of the San Esteban mining company told the workers’ union that no guarantees can be given that the wages of those miners stuck underground since August 5 will be paid. The company insists it is bankrupt.

The union has called on the government to guarantee the wages of the trapped miners as well as the about 100 other workers at the mine who are now out of work.

On September 13, PBS NewsHour reported the mine had already been ordered to shut down in 2007, after more than 180 miners were injured the year before.

Despite union protests, it reopened less than a year later.

Luis Rubina, a former worker at the mine, told PBS NewsHour that the company consistently refused to follow government-mandated safety rules.

Independent gold miner Aladina Oliveres said that the real problem was that the sole concern of the mine owners and government was revenue, not the safety of workers.

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From GLW issue 853

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Court freezes assets of Chilean mine company

Posted 2 hours 36 minutes ago

A court in Chile has frozen the assets of the company which owns the mine where 33 men have been trapped for 50 days.

The move was requested by the Chilean government, which wants the company to repay the cost of the miners' rescue.

The San Esteban mining company was in financial trouble even before the main access tunnel to its copper and gold mine collapsed.

The rescue operation, which is expected to take several more weeks, will add millions of dollars to its debts.


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