Afghan coal mine blast kills 11
Kabul - An explosion at a coal mine in
northern Afghanistan has killed 11 people, an official said on Saturday.
The miners, who were all working at the site
without government permission, died after an explosion triggered a collapse at
the mine in Baghlan province on Friday night, said the provincial governor's
spokesperson Mahmood Haqmal.
"Late on Friday a number of local people
were digging at a coal mine in the Chenarak area of Nehrin district when an
explosion killed 11 workers," he said.
Police are at the scene working to recover
Conditions in Afghan coal mines can be dangerously
primitive, with miners working by hand and little in the way of ventilation,
equipment or safety gear.
Afghanistan is believed to have mineral
reserves worth as much as $3 trillion which could theoretically generate
billions of dollars in tax revenue for the troubled country.
But exploitation of these resources faces
massive hurdles due to ongoing instability after 30 years of war in the
country, woeful infrastructure, and endemic corruption.
Nevertheless, mining lots are being quickly
parcelled out among Afghanistan's resource-hungry neighbours, and according to
mining ministry documents the country is planning to sell extraction rights for
up to five mines every year until the departure of the last foreign combat
troops in 2014.