India’s mine safety worsens

Miranda Kennedy Sep 7, 2006

SCOTT JAGOW: This week, President Bush gave Congress a name: The man he wants to lead the mine safety agency. Richard Stickler is a former mining executive with a lot of critics. His nomination has already been shot down once. Mine safety’s been a big issue this year. A couple dozen people have died in accidents. And today in India, the search is on for 53 miners trapped after an explosion. Mine safety is an even bigger problem in that country. And the fast-growing economy there isn’t helping. More now from Miranda Kennedy.

MIRANDA KENNEDY: A blast to open up a new mining area caused the roof of the mine to collapse, releasing deadly methane gas. The company says the workers have “zero” chance of survival. Hundreds of miners die every year in India. Researcher Ravi Rebbapragada says more of them are dying in the last few years, because more companies are mining here.

RAVI REBBAPRAGADA: Appetite has increased for everyone, in terms of cities are expanding, there’s an overall increase in the demand for metal and minerals. It’s like a whole industry in a hurry.

India’s mining industry is trying to meet an unprecedented demand for building materials and energy resources like coal. Rebbapragada says that often in their hurry what gets sacrificed is worker safety.

In New Delhi, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.

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