LA PAZ – Two Bolivians were killed in recent hours in accidents at mines in the southern province of Potosi, police said.
Raul Reynaga Vargas, 17, died Tuesday morning of carbon monoxide poisoning at Potosi’s emblematic Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain), which has been mined for centuries and was the main supply of silver to Spain in the colonial era.
On Monday, 25-year-old Armando Mamani died of “massive trauma” at the San Andres mine, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Potosi city, when he was crushed by a load of minerals.
Police Col. Jorge Pozo, told Erbol radio that both men died due to problems related to “a lack of industrial safety.”
The head of the Potosi provincial police department, Col. Mario Hinojosa, added that four miners have died in work-related accidents thus far this month.
Leaders of mining cooperatives told reporters this week that 21 workers have died at Cerro Rico over the past two years, while other data shows that roughly 50 accidents that resulted in death or injury occurred in 2008.
Miners in Potosi and the neighboring province of Oruro typically do not use gas masks and walk along passages filled with toxic water, while children and adolescents work alongside their parents in the same unsafe conditions. EFE