In May 2014, a terrible mining disaster struck the Turkish town of Soma, resulting in the deaths of over 300 miners. A research group from Bogazici University in Istanbul examined the causes of the disaster. Working with experts from TFH Georg Agricola University, the Turkish engineers now plan to look into ways to prevent this type of catastrophe occurring in the future. At a two-day meeting at the TFH in Bochum on 11th and 12th June 2015, representatives from the two universities discussed ways in which they could work together. Going beyond the topic of occupational safety, the two groups also identified reference points in the areas of mechanical engineering, environmental technology, post-mining and energy production. The meetings came about as a result of an initiative by North Rhine-Westfalia’s Minister for Science Svenja Schulze, who suggested that the two universities work together while on a visit to Turkey.
“The Disaster that is known to happen” is the title of the study of the Soma mining disaster published by Bogazici University this year. A lack of safety standards, inadequate monitoring and poor technical equipment were identified as the main reasons why the fatal fire broke out in the underground mine and why many of the victims could not be evacuated on time.
The two parties identified various possible topics for the joint projects, including the development of underground sensor and communication systems, a comparative study of environmental, occupational safety and health regulations in Germany and Turkey, and the creation of handbooks and training programmes for miners and engineers. During a tour of the campus, the Turkish visitors were able to find out more about the TFH’s work in its key areas of post-mining, and electronic and information technology. Accompanied by academics from the TFH, the party from Istanbul visited the headquarters of the mining rescue service run by the company RAG in the town of Herne, the spoil tips in Rheinelbe and Graf Molkte, and the German Mining Museum.