Strike In Kazakh Coal Mines Spreads

A strike over pay in the Kazakh coal mines of the world's biggest steel-maker Mittal had spread to three more mines on Sept. 29 taking the total to eight, a trade union official said. "Eight mines have stopped work, there is no more coal being mined," said Victor Zorine, head of the collective bargaining department of the Korgau miners' union. "Pay talks are still underway," he said.

Talks began three days ago and are scheduled to last another week, Zorine said.

Miners from five of the pits were striking Sept. 28 and about 500 demonstrated in front of the town hall in the central Kazakh city of Shakhtinsk, where the Mittal industrial complex is located.

Mittal plants cover an area of 5,000 12,355 acres and produce about 5.5 million tons of steel a year.

Last week, 41 miners were killed and three injured in an explosion in the Lenin mine in the central Karaganda region of Kazakhstan. A similar accident killed 23 in December 2004.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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