KAKANJ, Bosnia (Reuters) - Four miners were killed and two injured early on Tuesday when a platform holding up the roof caved in on them in a mine in central Bosnia.
The accident occurred at around 1 a.m. at a depth of 105 meters as a group of 28 miners were installing electric equipment in the Kakanj coal mine, outside the digging area, mining inspector Ferid Osmanovic told a news conference.
Four miners were killed by falling rocks and another two were taken to hospital though their injuries were not life-threatening. The other miners escaped unhurt.
Deadly accidents are frequent at Bosnian coal mines, starved of investment and upgrades since the country’s 1992-95 war.
Last year, five miners died when an earthquake triggered a collapse at the Raspotocje mine in the town of Zenica.
Osmanovic could not say what caused Tuesday’s collapse in a pit that was renovated two years ago.
“We have to make more efforts to introduce security measures that will prevent future accidents,” said Fadil Novalic, the prime minister of the country’s autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation, where the mine is located.
The Kakanj mine produces coal for Bosnia’s largest utility Elektroprivreda BiH (EPBiH), which has pledged funding to modernize seven mines it incorporates.
Bajazit Jasarevic, the EPBiH general manager, said an investment plan for the mines has been finalised and that security for miners would be dealt with urgently.
“We expect to have a different security situation at the mines in the next six months, up to one year,” Jasarevic told reporters.
Kakanj union leader Nezir Begic said: “These deaths represent the miners’ latest cry for help to improve their security.”
Writing by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Matt Robinson and Alison Williams