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Ministry to check 35 mines over recent collapse case

This photo shows a miner being carried into a hospital on Friday, after being rescued from a collapsed mine nine days after being trapped. (Gyeongbuk Fire Service Headquarters)
This photo shows a miner being carried into a hospital on Friday, after being rescued from a collapsed mine nine days after being trapped. (Gyeongbuk Fire Service Headquarters)

South Korea will carry out special inspections into 35 mines across the country that are deemed to have relatively high chances of accidents by the end of this year in the wake of a recent collapse case, the industry ministry said Wednesday.

The plan came as two miners had been trapped for about 10 days in a collapsed zinc mine in the county of Bonghwa, 244 kilometers southeast of Seoul. They were safely rescued on Friday and have been recovering quickly, according to their families and officials.

During a meeting held Wednesday to discuss follow-up measures, the ministry and related associations decided to launch joint special inspections into 35 of the country's 325 mines across the country by the end of the year.

The 35 mines were where casualties had been reported over the past three years, the ministry said, adding that the remaining mines will be examined by the first half of next year.

The ministry will also come up with comprehensive measures this year meant to boost safety of mines in close consultation with mining associations and workers in the field.

Measures would include upgrading rescue manuals, beefing up personnel at regional safety offices, and expanding safety related budgets, officials said.

"The government will thoroughly investigate the collapse case to figure out what caused it and who will be held responsible. Enhancing safety inspections is needed to prevent any recurrence," Second Industry Minister Park Il-jun said during the meeting. (Yonhap)

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