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Mexico to mine and burn coal to reach long-buried miners



CITY MEXICO The Mexican government announced plans Monday to fulfill a long-standing promise to retrieve the bodies of 63 coal miners killed in a 2006 mine collapse and get some coal to burn at the same time.

The deal with relatives of the victims is likely to strengthen President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obradors’ reputation as a fan of fossil fuels, at a time when much of the world is moving away from them.

Only two bodies were found after the explosion at the Pasta de Conchos mine in the northern state of Coahuila on February 19, 2006. Sixty-three others are still buried under tons of stone and coal.

On Monday, Lpez Obrador ordered the recovery effort to begin “immediately” and placed the federal electricity commission, the country’s public service known by its initials as CFE, in charge of the excavation.

One of the clauses of the agreement states that the families present give their consent so that once the recovery is complete, the CFE can remove the coal to supply itself.

The Mexican service still operates coal-fired power plants that burn a lot of polluting fuel. Recently the CFE made it more difficult for private renewable energy companies to bring in some wind and solar plants already built online, arguing that they had been given unfair priority in pricing and transmission.

Some observers say the decision was influenced by Mexico’s need to get rid of the fuel it produces as part of refining.

Lpez Obrador has also made building new refineries and finding more oil a central part of his economic plan.

Three previous administrations decided not to try to retrieve the miners’ bodies, saying it would be very dangerous and costly, with no guarantee of success. But the relatives of the victims have continued to press the authorities on the matter and Lpez Obrador had promised them he would try.

Associated Press

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