The Turkish Soma Coal Mining Disaster: Antecedents, Consequences, and Ethics

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Abstract

On May 13, 2014, a fire due to the combustion of accumulated methane gas in the Soma Eynez Mine in Turkey killed 301 miners. This case chronicles the events on the day of the accident and investigates the factors leading up to it. It depicts the chaos and confusion resulting from missing emergency protocol, inadequate responses of major stakeholders such as safety experts in the mine, company executives, and the political leadership at the ministry and prime ministry levels. It shows how the interplay of a culture of leniency towards mining safety, insufficient mining policies and even less effective inspections coupled with nepotism and the local population’s desperation for work, all led to serious neglect in a major mine resulting in needless deaths. The Soma Eynez Mine disaster highlights how corporate greed fed into breaches of mining protocol and ethical conduct, eventually leading to the bankruptcy of a mining conglomerate and the imprisonment of 14 men.

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