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4 workers rescued after chrome mine collapses in eastern Turkey

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Four workers were rescued after getting trapped when a mine collapsed in eastern Turkey, Agence France-Presse reported on Monday, citing local government officials.

The incident comes two weeks after a massive landslide in the same region buried nine miners.

The collapse struck at 10:04 a.m. local time at a privately owned chrome mine in the village of Kayaönü in Elazığ province, trapping four workers under the debris.

An initial written statement released by the Presidential Communications Directorate’s Center for Countering Disinformation said teams from the gendarmerie, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE) have successfully rescued three out of the four miners, with ongoing efforts for the remaining miner.

The energy ministry then announced on social media that one of the workers managed to extract himself on his own, while the search teams rescued the other three.

“One worker was injured, and the others are in good health,” the energy ministry said, adding that an investigation had been launched to determine the cause of the accident at the mine, owned by Polay Mining.

Alacakaya Mayor Başaran Yaşlı, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said that some collapses still occur in the area due to personal and mechanical error. Yaşlı added that although the situation has been minimized, it is not possible to entirely prevent such incidents.

A similar incident occurred at the Çöpler gold mine in Erzincan province on February 13 when a massive landslide sent some 10 million cubic meters of earth contaminated with cyanide and sulphuric acid sliding down the 200-meter-high slope of the heap leach pad, trapping nine miners under toxic debris.

The rescue operation to find those workers was complicated by the risk of further landslides in the region.

Environmentalists feared that cyanide and sulphuric acid used in the gold extraction process at the mine could spread to the nearby Euphrates River, which runs from Turkey to neighboring Syria and Iraq.

The disaster has shone a spotlight on the oversight and management of mining activities in the region and highlighted a series of ignored warnings and regulatory oversight.

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