Nine trapped in collapsed wildcat mine in Peru

LIMA, April 7 Sat Apr 7, 2012 4:44pm EDT

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LIMA, April 7 (Reuters) - Nine workers trapped inside a wildcat mine in southern Peru received oxygen and liquids through a giant hose on Saturday while a rescue team toiled to get them out, officials said.

The men have been stuck about 656 feet (200 meters) below ground since the Cabeza de Negro gold-and-copper mine partially collapsed on Thursday.

"We've communicated with them and they are in good health, thankfully," police officer Jose Saavedra told local radio.

A regional health official, however, said the miners were suffering from dehydration and feelings of desperation.

Small illegal mines are common in Peru, generating as much as $2 billion a year in income, according to private estimates.

Peru's mining sector accounts for 60 percent of total exports. (Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Hilary Burke; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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