Since four days there has been no news whatsoever about the Chinese miners stuck in a chrome mine in Bulqiza. Rescue forces are still on site, trying to enter different levels of the mine, fixing the damaged parts, and removing dangerous gasses.
The chrome mine in Bulqiza is a concession of Albchrome, which in turn is part of Samir Mane’s investment group Balfin. Balfin has profited from large contract in all important sectors of the economy, especially from the recently approved law for lowering “income from mining” in order to compensate for the price decrease of chrome on the international markets.
For a long time the “technically courageous” management of the mine and Alchrome’s full control over public life in Bulqiza, including the technical and financial activities of the mine. Curiosly, however, the actual extraction of chrome is managed by a Chinese company. There was never any explanation of why the management of the mine itself was left in the hands of the Chinese, other than that it allows Albchrome to avoid criminal responsibility in the case of accidents, which are not uncommon.
Now that indeed an accident has happened, which has only affected Chinese technicians, the Albanian press has remained content with mainly a perfunctory mention of the incident, without following up on the actual rescuing attempts. Meanwhile, many Albanian miners and technicians are working day and night to help their Chinese colleagues. They all are aware that what happened to the Chinese might very well happen to them, working hundreds of meters underground, without any protection and unsafe working conditions, just for a piece of bread.
Maybe the press remains silent because the lost miners are foreigners. Or maybe, the silence of the media, which normally is filled with big headlines, should be related to the owner of the mine, and not the importance of human lives.