Colombian authorities have confirmed that the death toll of an explosion at six coal mines in central Colombia has risen to 21, following the discovery of 10 workers who were reported missing.
The explosion occurred late on March 14 in the rural area of Sutatausa, approximately 75 km north of Bogota.
President Gustavo Petro expressed his condolences, stating that "every workplace death is not only a failure of companies, but also of society and the government". He also noted his intention to shift the country from its two top exports of oil and coal to renewable energy.
The National Mining Agency has suspended all activities at the mines and an investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the explosion before any reopening of the mines can be considered.
Sadly, accidents at coal and gold mines are all too common in Colombia, due to lack of proper safety measures at illegal or informal operations.
In 2022, there were 117 accidents at mines in Colombia, leading to the death of 146 people. The most devastating of these was in June 2010, when 73 people were killed in a mine explosion in the northwest.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Harry Huo)
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