Lima, Peru — At least 27 gold miners died of suffocation over the weekend in a mine in the southern Arequipa region of Peru. The tragedy, which shocked the country, was caused by a fire that occurred early on May 6, possibly due to a short circuit.
The Esperanza I mine, where the catastrophe occurred, is located in the Yanaquihua district. The flames spread rapidly through the wooden poles that support the shaft for gold extraction.
Yanaquihua Mayor James Casquino reported that three wounded miners had been rescued. Their testimony is expected to help clarify what led to the incident.
In a statement, the Yanaquihua mining company, made up of a group of small mining producers that operated the Esperanza I mine, confirmed on May 7 the death of the workers and reported that they evacuated 175 more people.
In addition, the company explained that the deceased worked for a contractor company specialized in mining services.
The company said that “the causes are being investigated” and guaranteed “that they will make themselves available for any investigation that may be necessary.”
On Twitter, the office of Peru’s president expressed “condolences to the relatives and the people of Arequipa for the death of the 27 miners.”
The government added, “The Peruvian Interior and Defense ministries have been working since the beginning of this tragedy to rescue and transfer the bodies. As a government, we will provide all the necessary support to the regional government and the municipality of Condesuyos in these moments of pain.”
On Sunday morning, according to local media reports, relatives of the victims were at the police station asking for information on what happened and to try to expedite the search and rescue efforts for the bodies.
To date, the bodies of the 27 deceased miners have been rescued.
According to data from the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines, Peru is the world’s leading gold producer and the second largest co
pper producer.This mining accident in Arequipa is the most serious that has occurred in Peru since 2000, according to statistics from the Ministry of Energy and Mines. During the past year, 38 people lost their lives in different mining accidents in the country.