Albanian miners start underground hunger strike

TIRANA, Albania — Twenty-five Albanian miners say they are going on hunger strike, demanding better pay and working conditions – 1.4 kilometers (nearly a mile) deep in a northern chromium mine.

Monday’s strike in Bulqiza, 31 miles (50 kilometers) north of the capital Tirana, followed three weeks of protests by some 700 miners against the Austrian-owned ACR mine operating company.
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Miners say they are paid $500 to $700 (euro348 to euro487) a month, and are seeking a 20 percent increase. Albania’s official minimum salary is about $202 (euro141) a month.

The mine produces some 70,000 tons of chromium per year. ACR won the Bulqiza concession in 2007.

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