Two Albanian Chromium Miners Die in Shaft

News 20 Aug 14

Two miners died on Tuesday in a chromium mine in the region of Martanesh after the shaft the shaft they were working in collapsed.

Gjergj Erebara
BIRN

Tirana

Denaid Barçi, 30, and Xhemal Sela, 53, were among a group of seven miners working in the Gallery No 7, of Fushe Lopa mine.

The causes of the accident remained unknown. However, on Tuesday media reported that police had detained the owner of the company that ran the mine and the technical director.

In a statement, the Ministry of Economy expressed condolences to the families of the victims and said it had launched an investigation to ascertain the safety of the mine and determine the causes of the incident.

“After retrieving the victims from the shaft, the department of inspections is working to determine the causes of the accident,” the ministry said.

Chromium and copper extraction has boomed in Albania in recent years with exports growing fast – along with deadly accidents, which have been blamed on poor working conditions and inadequate investments.

Albania has some of the Europe’s richest deposits of chromium, a mineral used to produce aluminum alloys and stainless steels. All the mines are private and work based on concessionary agreements with the government.

The Ministry of Economy says it has canceled 160 agreements in the mining sector this year. However, the drastic measures have not stopped deadly workplace accidents.

Two weeks ago, two Albanian workers and one Turkish engineer died while working to open a tunnel for a new hydropower plant in the village of Qafe Molla, in the Mirdite region in northern Albania.

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