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Families of trapped Chilean miners file 29 million USD suit in damages

Thursday, September 30th 2010 - 23:41 UTC
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The camp overseeing the rescue operations The camp overseeing the rescue operations

Families of 29 of the 33 workers trapped in a collapsed Chilean mine Thursday filed suit against their employer, seeking 29 million dollars in damages, an adviser to the families said.

The suit was filed in Copiapo, near the site of the mine, revealed the mayor of nearby Caldera, Brunilda Gonzalez.

She said the suit names 29 of the families and seeks “indemnity of 29 million dollars” which she said was in line with other cases involving victim compensation in Chile.

She said, however, that ultimately “the courts will have to decide” on the right sum.

It is not the first legal action over the dramatic trapped miners' saga.

The family of one miner, Raul Bustos, filed suit against the management of San Esteban, and the state regulatory body the National Geological and Mines Service, for having reopened the San Jose mine or allowed it to reopen in 2008 despite a fatal accident in 2007.

A group of 27 families also asked the courts to freeze 1.8 million dollars in earnings San Jose was due to receive for copper sales. That is aimed at funding potential future compensation for damages.

The government asked the courts to freeze all assets of the San Esteban group -- about 9.7 million dollars -- to fund rescue operations which so far the government has been paying.

The 33 miners have been trapped 700 metres underground since August 5 and it will be weeks before they can be freed.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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