Mining workers struggles
By Chris Marsden, 28 September 2012
The strike wave that began at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine is now engulfing South Africa’s platinum, gold and coal mining industries and has spread to transport and other sectors.
By Julie Hyland, 22 September 2012
As miners at the Lonmin platinum producer in Marikana returned to work Thursday, President Jacob Zuma authorised the domestic deployment of the military to deal with continued unrest in the mining sector.
By Samuel Davidson, 21 September 2012
In making the announcement, the company stated that it plans to shift production from less profitable thermal coal to the more profitable metallurgical coal.
By Anthony Torres and Alex Lantier, 21 September 2012
It took three weeks for France’s New Anti-capitalist Party to write on the massacre of 34 South African miners on August 16 at the Marikana mine.
By Julie Hyland, 20 September 2012
The massacre of striking South African platinum miners and the spreading confrontation between miners and the ANC regime have exposed the reactionary character of racial and nationalist politics.
By Chris Marsden, 13 September 2012
The South African army has been put on a state of high alert, amidst an escalating strike-wave involving platinum and gold miners.
By Eric Graham, 12 September 2012
The liquidation of the South African company Pamodzi Gold Limited led to the awarding of rights to the Orkney and Grootvlei gold mines to Aurora Empowerment Systems (AES) in 2009.
By Kate Randall, 11 September 2012
Gold Fields Ltd.’s KDC gold mine has been hit by strike of 15,000 workers, the second wildcat action at the company in less than a week.
By Iqra Qalam, 11 September 2012
More than three weeks after the Marikana massacre, families are still searching for their missing siblings and husbands in hospitals and jails.
By Eric Graham, 10 September 2012
Investigations into the Aurora Empowerment Systems, which has not paid workers at the Orkney and Grootvlei mines for years, have revealed a tangled and dirty web of criminality.
By Julie Hyland, 25 August 2012
Anger continues to mount over the August 16 massacre of 34 striking miners at South Africa’s Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana despite official efforts to lower tensions.
25 August 2012
A South African reader responds to the August 24 perspective, “The unions, the pseudo-left and the South Africa massacre.”
By Bill Van Auken, 21 August 2012
Four days after 34 of their comrades were massacred by heavily armed police, striking South African platinum miners defied a company ultimatum to return to work or be fired.
By Naomi Spencer, 27 June 2012
A Pike County, Kentucky miner was crushed by a wall collapse Monday morning, bringing to 10 the number of US coal miners killed on the job this year.
By Clement Daly, 25 June 2012
The Obama administration has intervened on behalf of energy giant Alpha after federal mine inspectors issued an “imminent danger” order against one of its mines.
By Clement Daly, 12 June 2012
Last week, energy giant Alpha Natural Resources was cited by federal safety inspectors for more than 200 violations, including for hazards posing “imminent danger.”
By Richard Phillips, 24 May 2012
Miners at Bowen Basin pits in Queensland have walked out in dispute over a new enterprise agreement.
By Clement Daly, 3 April 2012
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that if the federal mine regulatory agency had enforced basic safety standards, the 2010 disaster at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine could have been prevented.
By Richard Phillips, 31 March 2012
Bowen Basin coal miners struck on Tuesday following provocative new roster demands by the BHP-Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance.
By Tom Eley, 2 March 2012
Federal attorneys have filed charges against a mine superintendent for the April 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster that killed 29 West Virginia coal miners.
By Naomi Spencer, 16 December 2011
An investigation by the federal Chemical Safety Board found that uncontrolled hazards and an absence of safety measures were behind a series of fatal fires at a Tennessee plant earlier this year.
By Clement Daly, 13 December 2011
The US Mine Safety and Health Administration released its final report last Tuesday on the Upper Big Branch mine explosion.
By Samuel Davidson, 9 December 2011
The Obama administration’s Justice Department announced Tuesday that it would not press any criminal charges against Massey Energy, or its new owner, Alpha Natural Resources, arising from the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.
By Samuel Davidson, 19 November 2011
A fatal accident in Harlan County, Kentucky, brings to 21 the number of US coal miners killed on the job this year, and six in little more than a month.
By Naomi Spencer, 10 November 2011
The death of a Kentucky miner Monday morning brings to 20 the number of US coal miners killed on the job this year.
By Clement Daly, 5 November 2011
The UMWA issued findings of an investigation into the April 5, 2010 disaster at Massey’s Montcoal, West Virginia mine.
By Samuel Davidson, 2 November 2011
The security chief at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine, where 29 miners were killed last April, was convicted October 26 for participating in a cover-up of longstanding safety problems in the mine.
By Naomi Spencer, 2 November 2011
Two miners were killed and two others were injured in a wall collapse at a western Kentucky surface mine Friday.
By Clement Daly, 22 October 2011
The deaths of two more miners this month bring to 17 the number of coal mine fatalities in the US this year.
By Clement Daly, 7 October 2011
The conviction of a low-level Massey employee is the first produced by federal investigators looking into the massive explosion on April 5, 2010 that killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch mine.
By Clement Daly, 22 August 2011
The deaths of two miners in the span of a week bring to 14 the number of US coal mine fatalities this year, and highlight the drive to increase extraction rates at small operations.
By Clement Daly, 6 August 2011
A West Virginia miner was fatally electrocuted last week, bringing to 11 the number of coal mining deaths in 2011.
By Naomi Spencer, 13 July 2011
A coal miner was crushed in a powered haulage accident in an eastern Kentucky mine Monday night, bringing to nine the number of US miners killed on the job since January.
By Naomi Spencer, 2 July 2011
A US coal miner was killed in a roof fall-in a Harlan County, Kentucky mine Wednesday.
By John Braddock, 1 July 2011
Families of miners killed in a methane explosion at the Pike River mine last November denounced successive New Zealand governments over appalling safety standards.
By Clement Daly and Naomi Spencer, 29 June 2011
A West Virginia coal miner was killed early Monday morning after being crushed in a wall collapse.
By Jerry White, 26 May 2011
The recently released findings from an investigation into last year’s explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia expose the brutal and deadly conditions in the US coal industry.
By Samuel Davidson, 24 May 2011
An investigation into the April 2010 explosion that took the lives of 29 miners in West Virginia uncovered a “corporate culture” that placed production over safety.
By Samuel Davidson, 18 May 2011
Less than three weeks before the fatal explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine last April a government safety expert tried to get Massey executives to fix ongoing ventilation problems at the mine.
By Naomi Spencer, 26 April 2011
On Sunday, rescuers located the body of an Idaho silver miner killed in a cave-in 10 days earlier.
By Naomi Spencer, 19 April 2011
A miner remains missing after a cave-in more than a mile underground in a northern Idaho silver mine on Friday.
By Samuel Davidson, 15 April 2011
A year after the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine that killed 29 coal miners, no one has been held responsible.
By Clement Daly, 31 March 2011
Three lawsuits filed earlier this month charge Massey Energy with operating its Upper Big Branch mine in a “willful, wanton and recklessly unsafe manner” that caused the deaths of 29 miners.
By Naomi Spencer, 29 March 2011
A March 25 mining accident in eastern Kentucky claimed the fourth US coal miner of 2011.
By Clement Daly and Naomi Spencer, 4 March 2011
The security chief at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch coal mine has been charged with obstructing investigations into the explosion that killed 29 miners last year.
By Naomi Spencer, 1 February 2011
A 19-year-old coal miner in southwest West Virginia was killed January 27 after little more than three months on the job.
By Samuel Davidson, 1 February 2011
It has been almost 10 months since an explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine disaster in Montcoal, West Virginia claimed the lives of 29 miners. MSHA is now providing its “working theory” of the disaster.
By Samuel Davidson, 3 January 2011
Forty-eight coal miners were killed on the job last year, the highest toll since 1992. Hundreds of other miners have died from black lung and other respiratory diseases.
By Samuel Davidson, 20 December 2010
Massey CEO Don Blankenship, who has made repeated public statements calling for a full and open investigation of the UBB disaster, rejected testifying under oath in front of mine investigators.
By Tom Peters, 26 November 2010
One week after the initial explosion at the Pike River Coal Mine, mining experts, relatives and friends of the 29 dead miners have condemned the company’s unsafe practices and its failure to carry out a rescue operation.
By Naomi Spencer, 24 November 2010
A mine worker killed Tuesday in a Harlan County, Kentucky mine brings to 47 the number of US coal mining fatalities this year.
By Tom Peters, 24 November 2010
Twenty-nine coal miners, ranging in age from 17 to 62, have been declared dead following a second massive methane explosion this afternoon deep inside the Pike River Coal mine on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
By Samuel Davidson, 7 October 2010
An audit of the federal agency in charge of overseeing safety at US coal mines found it failed for over 30 years to enforce regulations at mines with a pattern of serious safety violations.
By Samuel Davidson, 27 September 2010
More details continue to come out about the horrendous conditions that existed at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine leading up to the deadly April 5 explosion that killed 29 miners.
By Naomi Spencer, 3 August 2010
A roof bolter was killed July 29 in a northern West Virginia underground coal mine when a section of the wall collapsed on him, bringing to 42 the number of US coal miners killed so far this year.
Part 2: An epidemic of ill health among the poor
By Naomi Spencer, 24 July 2010
This is the second in a series of articles on the history, economy, social and environmental conditions of the Appalachian coalfields.
Homeless in Harlan, Kentucky
By a WSWS reporting team, 24 July 2010
The second in a series, the WSWS interviews a resident of Harlan, Kentucky on conditions of life in the coalfields.
By Samuel Davidson, 23 July 2010
Coal miners who worked at the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, where a deadly blast killed 29 miners on April 5, told federal investigators that Massey foremen ordered an electrician to disable a methane detector months before the explosion occurred.
By Naomi Spencer, 13 July 2010
A coal miner was killed in a southern Illinois underground mine July 9, bringing the US death toll to 41 this year. The mine, owned by billion-dollar company Peabody Energy, has a substantial history of violations.
By Naomi Spencer, 3 July 2010
An electrician was crushed by coal-hauling equipment at a Massey Energy-owned mine in West Virginia on Thursday, bringing the year’s total of US coal mining fatalities to 40—31 of them at Massey sites.
By Naomi Spencer, 26 June 2010
In the span of barely a week, a second Kentucky coal miner was killed Thursday in an underground mining operation, bringing to 39 the number of coal miners killed in the US so far this year.
By Naomi Spencer, 23 June 2010
A coal miner died after being struck in the head by a steel roof jack in a Harlan County, Kentucky mine on June 16. The victim, 42-year-old James Carmack, was the 38th fatality among US coal miners this year.
By Jack Cody, 1 June 2010
Hundreds of miners returned to work last week after a three-and-a-half-month lockout by the Rio Tinto group. Workers were forced to take major concessions after the struggle was isolated by the International Longshore and Warehouse union.
By Mike Head, 31 May 2010
Yet another mining disaster, in which 17 miners died in a reported dynamite explosion in central China last Saturday, has highlighted the ongoing sacrifice of mine workers’ lives around the world for profit and increased output.
“That place was a ticking time bomb”
By Samuel Davidson, 28 May 2010
Coal miners and relatives of the 29 miners killed in the April 5 West Virginia explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine described the deadly conditions in the months leading up to the blast during testimony Tuesday before a congressional hearing.
By Mike Head, 22 May 2010
Rescuers have reached the bodies of 28 of the coal miners who had been trapped by a huge explosion at a state-run Karadon mine, near the Turkish Black Sea port of Zonguldak
By Samuel Davidson, 12 May 2010
Lawyers representing families of the miners killed in the April 5 blast at the Upper Big Branch Mine filed suit in a US District Court in Charleston, West Virginia, seeking to overturn the decision of the Obama administration to hold closed-door interviews of witnesses.
By Naomi Spencer, 30 April 2010
Two miners were buried Wednesday night by a roof collapse in the western Kentucky Dotiki Mine. The mine, owned by billion-dollar coal company Alliance Resource Partners, has an extensive record of safety violations.
By Samuel Davidson, 30 April 2010
The first of several congressional hearings into the explosion at a mine in West Virginia is setting a precedent for ignoring the criminal culpability of Massey Energy, its executives and government regulators for the death of 29 miners.
By Terry Cook, 30 April 2010
A television documentary on open cut coal mining in the Upper Hunter Valley in the Australian state of New South Wales has revealed deep public concern over the resultant health problems.
At memorial service for West Virginia miners
By Jerry White, 26 April 2010
In a eulogy for the 29 coal miners killed in the April 5 explosion in West Virginia, President Obama sought to conceal the responsibility of the mine owners and the complicity of the federal government.
By Jeff Lassahn and Samuel Davidson, 26 April 2010
Attendees at the memorial Sunday expressed their sorrow, their support for the families and friends of those who were killed, and anger at Massey Energy and federal and state regulators.
By Samuel Davidson, 21 April 2010
WSWS coverage of the April 5 disaster at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, which killed 29 miners, has aroused considerable interest and even controversy.
As prices of steel-making coal rose sharply
By Jeff Lassahn, 17 April 2010
The Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, West Virginia—where 29 miners died April 5—has outsize importance in the industry. It produces top-quality, high-value metallurgical (or coking) coal, used for steel production.
Whitewash of mine disaster being prepared
By Samuel Davidson, 16 April 2010
Earlier this week West Virgina Governor Joe Manchin announced the appointment of Davitt McAteer to conduct the state investigation into the mine disaster that killed 29 miners. His record suggests that the probe will be a whitewash of the coal operators and federal mine officials.
By Samuel Davidson, 15 April 2010
Federal mine safety regulations, set up by the Bush administration and upheld by President Obama, are giving coal companies a green light to continue killing and injuring miners.
By Jerry White, 14 April 2010
In the nine days since the deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, evidence has continued to accumulate demonstrating the criminality of the mine’s operator and the complicity of federal regulators.
By Andre Damon, 13 April 2010
On April 5, 2010, a massive explosion ripped through the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, killing 29 miners and injuring two others. The mine had been cited for hundreds of safety violations in the past year. The World Socialist Web Site sent a reporting team to the area, which spoke to dozens of workers. The following photos are by WSWS writer Andre Damon.
By Andre Damon, 13 April 2010
A World Socialist Web Site reporting team spent four days in West Virginia speaking to miners and covering the disaster there.
By Samuel Davidson, 13 April 2010
A huge body of evidence has already emerged that justifies the criminal prosecution of Massey CEO Don Blankenship and other top officials at Massey energy.
Deadliest US mine disaster in nearly 40 years
By Andre Damon and Samuel Davidson, 12 April 2010
Workers and residents in West Virginia spoke out against the mine owner, Massey Energy, including for its refusal to allow coworkers to attend the funeral of those killed.
The West Virginia mine tragedy
By Barry Grey, 10 April 2010
In the wake of Monday’s explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia, a mass of evidence has emerged of wanton and pervasive safety violations by coal giant Massey Energy, the owner of the mine.
Miners speak to WSWS on unsafe conditions
By Andre Damon and Samuel Davidson, 10 April 2010
The bodies of the four missing miners who had been trapped underground following Monday’s explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia were found by rescue teams early Saturday morning.
By our correspondents, 10 April 2010
Coal miners spoke to the World Socialist Web Site on Friday about safety violations at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. They said that the mine’s operator routinely disregarded safety rules, and denounced regulators for failing to punish the company.
As federal officials downplay safety violations by Massey Energy
By Andre Damon and Samuel Davidson, 9 April 2010
Rescue workers were forced to retreat early Thursday morning from the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, as toxic gas levels prevented them from searching for miners trapped underground.
By Andre Damon and Samuel Davidson, 9 April 2010
Miners, their family members and neighbors spoke with the World Socialist Web Site about the conditions that led to Monday’s deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, West Virginia.
By Jerry White, 9 April 2010
The deaths of at least 25 West Virginia miners is a tragic and stark demonstration of the state of class relations in America today. It underscores the consequences of the betrayal and disintegration of the United Mine Workers union.
From the catalog of Mehring Books
History of US miners’ struggles brought to life
9 April 2010
Mehring Books is pleased to offer Death on the Picket Line: The Story of John McCoy at a special discounted price. Published in 1990, this 68-page illustrated, perfect-bound pamphlet provides valuable background on the historic struggles of coal miners in the United States.
By Jerry White, 8 April 2010
Three days after at least 25 miners were killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, miners are beginning to come forth with details of how Massey Energy routinely disregarded safety regulations at the mine.
By David Walsh, 6 April 2010
An explosion in a West Virginia coal mine Monday afternoon killed at least 25 miners. At the time of this writing, 4 other miners were still missing.
1 March 2010
The WSWS spoke with Rio Tinto miners participating in a rally in Boron, California on February 24. Some 570 Borax mine workers in the city have been locked out for four weeks after workers opposed contract concessions.
By Jerry White, 12 January 2010
The return of high levels of black lung disease is, above all, a testament to the treacherous role of the United Mine Workers of America.
By Hiram Lee, 12 January 2010
The Obama administration has joined with the energy companies in seeking to block new regulations that would designate coal ash as toxic waste.
By Carol Divjak, 24 June 2009
A gas explosion at a coal mine in the Sawahlunto district of West Sumatra on June 16 killed at least 32 people. The tragedy is the outcome of the appalling safety standards that prevail in much of the Indonesian mining industry.
By Joe Lopez, 11 September 2008
One of the great myths of the Australian mining boom has been that prosperity would “trickle down” from the mining companies to the rest of society, starting with the workers who have flocked to the mines, mostly in Western Australia, hoping to secure big pay packets.
By Mike Head, 3 September 2008
Since July, definite signs have emerged that Australia’s mining boom, a major factor in the country’s much touted economic growth during the past decade, has started to crumble under the weight of the world economic slowdown. Mineral export prices have begun to turn. The London Metal Exchange Index of six base metals, including copper, zinc and nickel, fell more than 20 percent from a peak of 4,400 in March to 3,400 in early August.
By Samuel Davidson, 24 August 2007
The Washington Post reported Thursday that mine owner Bob Murray had decided to end production at the Crandall Canyon Mine in central Utah where six coal miners were trapped in an August 6 cave-in and to seal the mine.
By Barry Grey, 21 August 2007
Relatives of six miners trapped 1,500 feet below ground at the Crandall Canyon mine in east central Utah made a statement to the press on Sunday, 13 days after the mine caved in, to express outrage over the decision of the mine owners and federal mine safety officials to effectively abandon attempts to rescue the men.
By Jerry White, 18 August 2007
The search for six trapped miners in Utah was halted indefinitely after a cave-in at the Crandall Canyon Mine Thursday night caused the deaths of three workers involved in the rescue effort. Two of the men—Brandon Kimber and Dale Black—were Crandall Canyon miners searching for their missing comrades, while the third, Gary Jensen, was an employee of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
17 August 2007
The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site concerning its coverage of the Utah mine disaster.