LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivian police on Friday rescued 19 wildcat miners who were trapped inside a mine by a rival group using dynamite.
Police said that about 100 miners used dynamite blasts to block the mine's entrance and took control of another way out of the Asientos mine. The trapped miners were later rescued unharmed from the silver, lead and zinc mine that is located some 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of the Bolivian capital.
Police said that miners on both sides had begun mediated talks with local authorities to resolve their conflict over the mine's resources.
Bolivia's informal or artisan miners number about 100,000 and work in self-managed cooperatives. Clashes between wildcat miners are frequent in the mining-dependent Andean nation and some have turned deadly. Last year, striking informal miners kidnapped and beat to death Bolivia's deputy government minister after he traveled to the area to mediate in a conflict over mining laws.
"Conflicts between miners in these work zones are frequent, but they never took anyone hostage," said Melecio Garcia, the mayor of Mizque, a town close to the mine.