Chile miners suing for millions from company, govt

October 1, 2010 01:35


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COPIAPO, Chile — Relatives of 27 of the 33 miners trapped since Aug. 5 in a Chilean gold and copper mine joined their lawyer Thursday in filing a lawsuit demanding $10 million from the mining company.

The same families will demand a similar amount from Chile's government in the next few days, said their lawyer, Edgardo Reinoso.

The families accuse Alejandro Bohn and Marcel Kemeny, owners of the San Esteban mining company, of negligence and violations of several workplace and mine safety regulations. The second suit will allege the government failed to enforce the regulations.

"We families want them to pay all the damages, and we want justice," said Elvira Valdivia, noting that her husband, heavy equipment operator Mario Sepulveda, will have to spend his 40th birthday Monday a half-mile underground.

Most of the miners' families agreed to sue last month during a meeting at Camp Hope, where they have been holding vigil. Relatives of the remaining six miners will have to decide whether to pursue their own lawsuit, join this one or leave it alone, Reinoso said.

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