Bulgaria's Energy Minister: Oranovo Mining Concession Temporarily Stopped, not CancelledEnergy | August 4, 2013, Sunday // 15:45| views
The Oranovo coal mine near Bulgaria's southwestern town of Simitli, photo by BGNES
The owner of the Oranovo coal mine has two weeks to bring the operations in line with legal requirements, according to Dragomir Stoynev, Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister.
A fatal collapse at the Oranovo mine on July 16 claimed the lives of four miners - Asen Stoynev, 41, and Mr Hristo Mladenov, 45, were reported dead on the day of the incident, while the dead bodies of Ivan Lazarov, 35, and Nikolay Mihaylov, 42, were discovered on Friday after an 18-day search operation.
On Thursday, 48-year-old miner Asen Grancharov died of heart attack at the Oranovo coal mine.
In a Sunday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, Stoynev made clear that the owner could not make the miners go underground until the irregularities were removed, adding that he also had no right to dismiss them during the period.
He reminded that he had issued an order to stop the mining concession, stressing that it was different from terminating it, because it only envisaged a halt of production activities until the problems were solved.
Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister said that the mine near the southwestern town of Simitli had been functioning illegally since the beginning of 2013 due to the lack of an approved annual work plan, meaning that the miners had not been supposed to go underground.
Stoynev informed that the Ministry of Economy and Energy had conducted an inspection at the mine on April 18 but the officials had concluded that normal activities were underway at the mine.
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