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Four miners die in west Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, May 11
Four miners died in the western Tkibuli region after a special elevator bringing miners in the deep mine broke and fell down from a 350-400 meter height.

Another seven miners were injured and are now being treated.

As the Saknakhshiri GIG Group, the only coal-mining company in Georgia, states, all miners have 100% health insurance and the company has done its utmost to ensure the safety of its employees.

Special groups were sent to Tkibuli to find the bodies of the deceased miners, and recovered them after several hours of hard work.

The Minister of Economy and Infrastructure, as well as the ruling government's leaders and local authorities, arrived at the scene shortly after the incident took place.

The Minister of Economics said the families of those who died in the mine would receive compensations.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili offered his condolences to the families of the deceased workers and stressed the causes of the accident would be identified.

Other miners say the reason behind the tragedy was that the elevator which fell was in a repair process and the four were tasked to fix it.

The Saknakhshiri GIG Group responsible for the Mindeli Mine in Tkibuli is one of the country’s largest taxpayers, and provides for the payment of 12.5 million GEL to the state budget and more than 2 million to the municipal local budget every year.

Mamuka Mdinaradze, a government official, stated in Tkibuli that working on safety issues must become more active both from private and state owned companies.

“All of you who oppose the creation of an effective labour inspection in Parliament, in the Government, or within the State Constitutional Commission, you are murderers!” Georgia’s Public Defender stated when commenting on the issue.

In his earlier statement, Nanuashvili said that 58 people were killed and 85 injured in the workplace in 2016.

He said the state's reaction is limited only by bringing the responsible persons to justice after a tragedy takes place.

The Ombudsman urged Parliament and the Government to take all necessary measures to ensure safe working conditions in the country.

Responding to this, a health official from the ruling team, Akaki Zoidze, said the Ombudsman should have refrained from using the word ‘murderer’ and said no one in the ruling team was against labour inspection protocols.

He said the government working on a special mechanism that would provide complex protection of employees, as working inspection procedures alone 'cannot be an outcome'.