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Pakistan: 46 accidents resulted in 327 deaths in coalmines in last few years

Author: Shahzada Irfan Ahmed, News on Sunday (TNS), Pakistan, Published on: 21 November 2018

"A life not 'mine'", 18 November 2018

Pakistan is rich in mineral resources, including coal that is being extracted since colonial times and used in running locomotive engines, factories, brick kilns, etc. There are substantial reserves in all the four provinces with Sindh topping the list with an estimated 184 billion tonnes of coal reserves…  

As per the figures compiled by Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation, there have been 46 incidents of major accidents in coalmines in the country during the last few years. These have resulted in at least 327 deaths and a large number of injuries. These are estimates and the actual number can be much higher. These deaths were caused primarily due to suffocation, burial under the falling roofs of the coalmines, accidents involving load-carrying vehicles and burnings in explosions caused inside the coalmines.

“There are strict guidelines under local laws and as per international guidelines regarding adoption of health and safety measures at coalmines but many of these are ignored,” says… Labour Education Foundation (LEF), a non-profit working for the rights of workers in Pakistan…Apart from risks of death and serious injury, coalmine workers are confronted by serious occupational health hazards. A study...says hearing loss is quite common among coalmine workers as blasting and production of electricity via diesel electricity generators create immense noise. Besides, continuous vibration in the coalmines causes spinal cord disorders. Similarly, continuous exposures to coal dust cause asthma and tuberculosis… 

An encouraging development is that US-based GE Power has introduced advanced boiler technology in Pakistan that makes even lignite coal usable for power production...Reportedly, GE has entered into a $60 million equipment and services deal to manage 330 MW Thar Energy Limited (TEL) power plant for 12 years.

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Related companies: General Electric