October 18, 2018
Middle East

Two killed in abandoned mine in Morocco

Relatives mourn two brothers who died in an abandoned mine in Jerada in December (AFP)

Two miners have died in a rockfall in an abandoned Moroccan lead mine in a region hit by protests after the similar deaths of two other miners in December, state news agency MAP said.

"Two people, aged 33 and 42, were killed on Sunday after a lead gallery partially collapsed in the commune of Sidi Boubker in the province of Jerada," it said.

One died at the scene and the other was taken to hospital in the northeastern city of Oujda where he succumbed to his injuries, it added.

Last December, the deaths of two miners in an abandoned mine sparked protests in the impoverished town of Jerada demanding aid and jobs.

Demonstrators clashed with security forces in March after the arrest of several protest leaders.

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Protests over Morocco's 'death mines' rage on despite intimidation

The government has promised to provide alternative jobs in the area and to seal off all abandoned mines.

Residents say the town has been neglected since its coal and lead mines were closed some 20 years ago.

Miners have continued to risk their lives in the unsafe, deserted “death mines” to extract coal by hand. For a handful of dirhams, the coal is sold to local notables, the so-called “coal barons” who are mostly elected officials.

The area has been nicknmed 'Silicosis Valley' as a result of the large numbers of residents affected by lung disease after working in the mines.

Original Article

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