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Diocese to conduct mining accident probe

Investigation follows reports of dynamite explosions linked to deaths of three miners reporter, Manila

November 23, 2012

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Daet Dicocese in central Camarines Norte province says it will conduct an independent inquiry into an accident that left three people dead at a gold mine this week following a recent series of deaths there.

Father Edwin Visda, social action director of the diocese, said there were “attempts to cover up the tragedy” amid what he called “contradictory reports” on what happened at the illegal mine.

Police Superintendent Jose Lipa Capinpin said three miners were trapped and killed inside a 300-meter deep mining pit after water poured in from an adjacent pit.

But Church-run Radio Veritas reported that the collapse was caused by a “dynamite explosion.”

"The sad news of course is that the financier will not admit this… but that’s what really happened," Visda said.

Veritas reported that there was a search for more victims after eight tunnels collapsing on Tuesday.

“Logically, if there are eight holes, there could have been more than three people there,” said Visda.

After dynamite blasting caused at least three deaths in December, authorities officially banned operations at the mine although this has not been enforced, says Visda. Tuesday’s accident is the fourth so far this year, he added.

An estimated 20,000 people are involved in gold prospecting in this resource-rich town in the central-eastern region of the country.

The Philippines is home to an estimated 300,000 small-scale, illegal mines which together produce about 70 percent of the country’s gold, according to authorities.

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