A fire continues to burn at the -300 metre level of the coal mine in Amasra on Turkey’s Black Sea coast following Friday’s explosion. Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez announced on Sunday that the mine will remain closed until the fire is completely out and cool-down efforts are completed.
According to a report by Duvar news website, the complete burn-out may take up to 12 months. Ventilation Duct Negative Pressure
The explosion, suspected to have been caused by methane gas build-up, has killed 41 miners. Another 11 miners were hospitalised, while 58 others were rescued. There were reportedly 110 miners inside at the time of the explosion.
Dönmez announced on Saturday evening that rescue efforts were concluded. Current efforts include building a concrete barrier to allow for a reduction of oxygene concentration inside the mine and smother the fire.
The burn-out time will depend on how well the barrier is constructed, according to Duvar. Experts fear the barrier won’t be fast enough to seal the tunnels before the fire reaches the coal beds.
Two additional chief public prosecutors were appointed to the case, raising the number of chief public prosecutors involved in the investigation on the explosion to five, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ told reporters on Sunday.
All miners have been laid to rest, with 35 funerals and burials carried out on Saturday and six more on Sunday, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The Chamber of Mining Engineers announced in a press conference that they had requested records from the gas monitoring system in the mine, but were denied access.
“We were told it was forbidden to give us the data, and that it would be shared at a later time. We could not get a hold of mine blueprints or the ventilation system,” chamber president Ayhan Yüksel told reporters.
According to Yüksel, expert engineers were only allowed into Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD) coordination centre after main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu arrived at the scene. “We were then able to obtain some maps and documents. Our experts will inspect the ventilation system for issues,” he said.
In the last decade Turkey has seen several major mining disasters, including in the Aegean town of Soma in 2014, when 301 miners lost their lives in a major explosion also caused by methane gas build-up.
“Sentences in Soma were like rewards, this led to new massacres,” daily Evrensel cited Soma 301 Miners Solidarity Association Chairman İsmail Çolak as saying. “As long as this order continues, these massacres will unfortunately continue to happen.”
Lawyers from the Bartın bar association, Turkey’s Bar Associations Union (TBB) and the Progressive Lawers Association (ÇHD) have appealed to the prosecutor’s office to confiscate all documents in the mine and ban entry to the site for fear of evidence tampering, Deutsche Welle Turkish reported.
The lawyers appealed to access the reports and notes inspectors prepared after their visit nine days before the explosion. They are also seeking an audience with the prosecutor himself, but the prosecutor has not responded yet.
Meanwhile also on Sunday miners and other workers in several provinces took to the streets to protest the deaths.
“We say these are not accidents but murders,” Labour Party (EMEP) Adana Chairwoman Sevil Aracı said at a demonstration in the southern province, adding that Turkey saw around 2,000 workplace deaths every year.
High Temperature Heat Insulation Air Duct There were protests in Adana, Antep, Ankara, Kayseri, Elazig, Eskisehir and Antalya.