Weekend Video: Westray

25051814On May 9th 1992 an explosion ripped apart the Westray Coal Mine in Pictou County, Nova Scotia killing 26 miners. The Fifth Estate and the Journal co-produced this story about the tragedy. The mine was opened the year before despite misgivings that the geology of the area was unstable and prone to large volumes of methane gas. The Federal Government was reluctant help the private company starting the mine after numerous reports cited geological concerns. But after heavy lobbying the mine opened. From the beginning miners complained of safety issues, rock falls, high methane gas levels and large amounts of coal dust. The company’s output and quality of coal were disappointing. Inspectors visited the mine 49 times. Critics claim inspectors didn’t take the conditions seriously enough and that the company was negligent. Government officials say it’s not at fault. But the miners say even if the mine were to reopen they would never go back.

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