Chilean miners to sue government

2011-07-16 09:02

Santiago - Some 31 miners who endured 69 days trapped underground when a northern Chile mine collapsed are suing the government for negligence saying there was lack of security, one of them said Friday.

"We want what we went through at the bottom of that mine to be recognized. We are here to say that the 31 of us wish that all our suffering, and the suffering of our families, is recognized," miner Luis Urzua told reporters.

A total of 33 miners were trapped underground from August 5 to October 13 2010 after a cave-in at the San Jose gold and copper mine in northern Chile.

After 69 days and a spectacular rescue operation with the world watching, they were hauled out safely from 700m below ground.

Only 31 of the group have joined the lawsuit against the Chilean government, and a lawyer filed the suit Friday requesting $540 000 in compensation for each of the miners.

The miners allege that the National Geology and Mines Bureau had failed to carry out proper inspections of the mine's security and working conditions.

One of the plaintiffs, miner Claudio Yanez, said the mine had had accidents in the past and at one time had been closed.

"Everyone knows that in 2005 and 2007 there were two deaths in this mine, and that since then it had always been a dangerous mine," Yanez told CNN Chile.

- SAPA
Read more on:    chile
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