Saturday 10 August 2013

At least seven people dead following spoil heap collapse at coal mine in Sundargarh, Odisha State, India.

Seven people are known to have died and it is feared around 20 more are still buried following the collapse of a spoil heap at an opencast coal mine at Sundargarh in Odisha State, India. The incident happened at about 10.00 am local time (4.30 am GMT) at the Kulda Mine operated by Mahanadi Coalfields, while local villagers were foraging for coal from the spoil heap, which comprised largely overburden; rocks from above the layer being exploited that are removed as part of the excavation process. 

The approximate location of the Sundargarh spoil heap collapse. Google Maps.

The incident happened following heavy rains; landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall. The government of Odisha State has ordered an enquiry into the event. India has suffered a string of landslide and flood events this year, following an exceptional monsoon rain.

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