4 killed in Tkibuli mine accident
Four miners have been killed today as a result of a shaft collapse in Tkibuli.
The incident in Tkibuli mine occurred during cable car rehabilitation works. The miners fell 400m down a mine shaft.
Georgian Interior Ministry instituted criminal proceedings under Article 240 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which implies violation of safety rules during execution of mining, construction or other works.
The locals, miners and members of the victims’ families gathered at Mindeli mine in Tkibuli. The rescuers are still working on the ground to remove the victims’ bodies.
Saknakhshiri Company (Georgian Coal), which owns the mine, has released a statement, saying the ‘reasons of the accident haven’t been identified yet’. According to the company, an investigative group has been set up to probe into the causes of the accident.
Georgian Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili also released a statement:
“At this tragic moment I would like to offer my condolences to the families of Tkibuli miners… Special groups will be working on the ground to ensure timely conduct of the miners’ search and rescue operation, as well as to investigate the causes of this accident.”
It’s not the first accident resulting in miners’ death during mining operations. NGOs, field employees, and representatives of trade unions have long been expressing concerns that minors often suffer occupational traumas as a result of employer’s neglecting safety rules.
The Labor Conditions Monitoring Department is operating at the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, though its efficiency raises many questions. In particular, the inspections are conducted on a voluntary basis, i.e., only the companies that allow the department to conduct the inspection, will be checked. In the event that certain violations are revealed, the companies aren’t imposed any fines, but rather are issued warnings and sent recommendations, that are confidential.
In connection with the accident, the ‘Auditorium 115’ movement has called on the population to join a rally outside the State Chancellery. The rally participants are expected to demand the government to toughen control over labor safety.