Two miners were killed when a cable snapped on the bucket used to lower them into a small, primitive coal mine that was operating illegally in northern Mexico.
The failure of the cable sent the bucket plunging down the mine shaft, killing the miners, the Labor Department said late Tuesday. The department said the accident occurred Tuesday at a mine in the northern border state of Coahuila.
The mine was operating illegally because access to the mine had been restricted after an inspection found safety violations there in August 2022, the department said.
The Mexican government enacted a plan three years ago to revive coal-fired power plants in northern Mexico and give preference to buying coal from the smallest mines. That resuscitated a form of coal mining so dangerous that lawmakers had tried to ban it a decade ago.
Some mines are so narrow and primitive that only a couple of miners at a time can be lowered into a narrow shaft — and only one bucket of coal extracted — at a time. Experts say such mines are inherently unsafe. At some pits, known as “pocitos,” or “little wells,” air is pumped in and water pumped out through plastic hoses. Some don’t even have that. There are usually no safety exits or auxiliary shafts.