An explosion at a mine in Huanuni, in the department of Oruro, has killed at least eight people and left 15 injured, according to a statement from the Bolivian Interior Minister, Carlos Romero.
“At 4 a.m., at the moment the daily mining activities were beginning in Huanuni, at least seven people were killed and 15 injured, according to available information,” Romero told journalists.
In later reports, the number of deaths increased to eight.
Huanuni's mayor Felipe Martinez said a vehicle transporting explosives overturned at one of the entry ramps when about 40 people were inside the mine.
Romero said two teams were sent to do a comprehensive investigation. The first will be headed by Vice Minister of Interior Jose Luis Quiroga and officers from the justice and mining ministries, while the second is a multidisciplinary police team. A local prosecutor and a forensic team were also sent to the scene.
Toda mi solidaridad con la COB, FSTMB y familias de víctimas fatales y heridos en el suceso registrado en Huanuni esta madrugada. He instruido que de forma inmediata se investigue y esclarezca el hecho trágico, los ministerios de Gobierno, Justicia y Minería, tienen esta misión.— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) 11 de abril de 2018
“I stand in solidarity with the COB [the Bolivian Workers' Central], FSTMB [The Mine Workers' Federal Union of Bolivia] and the families of the dead and injured in the event in Huanuni this early morning. I've given instructions for an immediate investigation to clear up the tragedy. The duty is on the Ministers of Interior, Justice, and Mining,” wrote President Evo Morales on his Twitter account.
The Huanuni Mining Company is part of the Mining Corporation of Bolivia and produces tin concentrates.
The injured workers were transferred to hospitals in the city of Oruro.