TODAY’S – AK Party rejects refuge chambers in mines

AK Party rejects refuge chambers in minesAn offer by the main opposition to pass a law that would require all mines in Turkey to have refuge chambers was turned down by the ruling party in Parliament on Thursday.Making it obligatory for mines to have refuge chambers was put on the agenda after a mining accident in Soma killed 301 mine workers in May.

Separate government officials earlier suggested that Parliament pass a regulation to address this issue however, Thursday’s proposal for refuge chambers was not adopted due to opposition from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).The news broke after CHP Istanbul deputy Muslim SarI announced on his Twitter account on Thursday that Labor Minister Faruk elik said he would not agree to pass a law requiring refuge chambers in mines.

The situation raises doubts about the government’s promises to upgrade safety standards at mines after the Soma disasterThe necessity for refuge chambers was brought up three years ago when a mine accident took place in the coal town of Kozlu, in Zonguldak province. The debates back then also produced no solutions.

A stainless steel emergency cabin is vital for miners to be able to survive disasters. A refuge chamber costs TL 530,000 ($250,000), and critics have said that mine owners are reluctant to pay this amount.

According to mine safety experts, workers trapped in the mine operated by Turkey’s Soma Kmur IIletmeleri AI, could have survived for an extended period of time if the mine in Soma had refuge chambers that are commonly used in other countries.Refuge chambers offer very good odds of survival, even in the event of explosions, fires or the release of hazardous gases.

Thirty-three Chilean miners rescued in 2010 after being trapped underground for 69 days had escaped to such a room after the roof in a copper and gold mine in Chile had collapsed.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman