No minor problem, this …

A little over a month after the world watched with relief the 33 Chilean miners emerge out of their workplace – a gold and copper mine deep beneath the Atacama Desert – 27 coal miners are now trapped inside a remote coal mine in New Zealand.

While two miners walked out of the mine with some injuries there has been no contact with the other 27. A TV news crew that flew over the site said that it looks like there were charred trees and smoke rising over the area. It appears there was some kind of explosion inside the mine.

Mining is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. It employs around 1% of the global work force but accounts for 8% of fatal accidents. Accidents are more frequent in developing countries where life is often “cheap” and mining companies flout safety rules to make more money.

The only silver lining is that the number of fatalities have continued to drop since the beginning of the 20th century, but it is no minor problem …

Hope the story of the NZ miners has a happy ending like the Chilean one.

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