Romania mine collapse kills one, injures two

AFP
The Lupeni mine, which is located in Jiu Valley, Romania's main mining region, is due to close by the end of 2018 General view of Lupeni coal mine at an entrance pit in Lupeni city (350km west from Bucharest), 20 February 2007. The Valea Jiului region was touched by a programme of World Bank launched in 1997 heading the closing of unprofitable mines and counts today just 150,000 inhabitants compared with 300,000 in 1990. The number of workers in coal mining dropped in the past 17 years from 46,000 to 11,800. According to Romanian authorities the coal extraction must continues as coal based power plants deliver one-third of the energy needed by Romania, if not, the country will import the coal and the price of energy will rise. A decision regarding the closing or not of coal mining will be taken until May 2007 as Romania should cease the state support for this sector until 2011 according to engagements taken before the EU accesion of the country. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCUGeneral view of Lupeni coal mine at an entrance pit in Lupeni city (350km west from Bucharest), 20 February 2007. The Valea Jiului region was touched by a programme of World Bank launched in 1997 heading the closing of unprofitable mines and counts today just 150,000 inhabitants compared with 300,000 in 1990. The number of workers in coal mining dropped in the past 17 years from 46,000 to 11,800. According to Romanian authorities the coal extraction must continues as coal based power plants deliver one-third of the energy needed by Romania, if not, the country will import the coal and the price of energy will rise. A decision regarding the closing or not of coal mining will be taken until May 2007 as Romania should cease the state support for this sector until 2011 according to engagements taken before the EU accesion of the country. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU (AFP Photo/DANIEL MIHAILESCU)

The Lupeni mine, which is located in Jiu Valley, Romania's main mining region, is due to close by the end of 2018 General view of Lupeni coal mine at an entrance pit in Lupeni city (350km west from Bucharest), 20 February 2007. The Valea Jiului region was touched by a programme of World Bank launched in 1997 heading the closing of unprofitable mines and counts today just 150,000 inhabitants compared with 300,000 in 1990. The number of workers in coal mining dropped in the past 17 years from 46,000 to 11,800. According to Romanian authorities the coal extraction must continues as coal based power plants deliver one-third of the energy needed by Romania, if not, the country will import the coal and the price of energy will rise. A decision regarding the closing or not of coal mining will be taken until May 2007 as Romania should cease the state support for this sector until 2011 according to engagements taken before the EU accesion of the country. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCUGeneral view of Lupeni coal mine at an entrance pit in Lupeni city (350km west from Bucharest), 20 February 2007. The Valea Jiului region was touched by a programme of World Bank launched in 1997 heading the closing of unprofitable mines and counts today just 150,000 inhabitants compared with 300,000 in 1990. The number of workers in coal mining dropped in the past 17 years from 46,000 to 11,800. According to Romanian authorities the coal extraction must continues as coal based power plants deliver one-third of the energy needed by Romania, if not, the country will import the coal and the price of energy will rise. A decision regarding the closing or not of coal mining will be taken until May 2007 as Romania should cease the state support for this sector until 2011 according to engagements taken before the EU accesion of the country. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU

The Lupeni mine, which is located in Jiu Valley, Romania's main mining region, is due to close by the end of 2018 General view of Lupeni coal mine at an entrance pit in Lupeni city (350km west from Bucharest), 20 February 2007. The Valea Jiului region was touched by a programme of World Bank launched in 1997 heading the closing of unprofitable mines and counts today just 150,000 inhabitants compared with 300,000 in 1990. The number of workers in coal mining dropped in the past 17 years from 46,000 to 11,800. According to Romanian authorities the coal extraction must continues as coal based power plants deliver one-third of the energy needed by Romania, if not, the country will import the coal and the price of energy will rise. A decision regarding the closing or not of coal mining will be taken until May 2007 as Romania should cease the state support for this sector until 2011 according to engagements taken before the EU accesion of the country. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCUGeneral view of Lupeni coal mine at an entrance pit in Lupeni city (350km west from Bucharest), 20 February 2007. The Valea Jiului region was touched by a programme of World Bank launched in 1997 heading the closing of unprofitable mines and counts today just 150,000 inhabitants compared with 300,000 in 1990. The number of workers in coal mining dropped in the past 17 years from 46,000 to 11,800. According to Romanian authorities the coal extraction must continues as coal based power plants deliver one-third of the energy needed by Romania, if not, the country will import the coal and the price of energy will rise. A decision regarding the closing or not of coal mining will be taken until May 2007 as Romania should cease the state support for this sector until 2011 according to engagements taken before the EU accesion of the country. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU (AFP Photo/DANIEL MIHAILESCU)

Bucharest (AFP) - One man has died and two others have been severely injured after parts of a coal mine collapsed in southern Romania, emergency services said Friday.

Eleven workers were inside the gallery, about 500 metres (1,640 feet) below ground, when its roof suddenly crumbled on Thursday afternoon.

Eight of them managed to scramble to safety but three remained trapped in the Lupeni mine in Jiu Valley, Romania's main mining region.

By the time rescuers reached the miners after a difficult 10-hour operation, only two were still alive.

It is the latest in a series of deadly accidents to strike Romanian mines over the years.

Once the pride and joy of the Communist regime with an annual output of 28 million tons of coal, the mines have since turned unprofitable and regularly draw criticism because of their poor working conditions.

Romania, the European Union's second-poorest member state after Bulgaria, has vowed to phase out coal production and instead focus on clean energy sources.

The Lupeni mine is due to close by the end of 2018, according to the government.

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