On Dec. 29, 2016, the Lalmatia coal mine’s massive overburden dump collapsed into the pit, killing 23 workers — including five whose bodies have still not been recovered.Workers claim they reported warning signs to management ahead of the disaster but were ignored. In the days following the collapse, inspection authorities said Lalmatia was not fit for mining.The mine is under the umbrella of government-owned Coal India Limited, but production was outsourced to a private company.India aims to ramp up its coal production to one billion tonnes per year, with “large scale contract mining” expected to play a major role in reaching this goal. LALMATIA, India — When the Lalmatia coal mine in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand collapsed on Dec. 29, mining supervisor Hem Narayan Yadav was working 100 feet (30 meters) down the mine’s vast open pit. “Suddenly there were strong tremors,” he recalled. “I watched a massive tornado of earth approaching behind me and I ran for my life. But soon I was tossed and turned like a leaf and fell thud on a boulder unconscious.” Recently released from the hospital after sustaining injuries to his head and lower body, Yadav is currently recuperating at his home in Urjanagar, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the mine. For dump-truck operator Mohammad Waris Ansari, it was a hairbreadth escape from death. “My vehicle got loaded and I had just managed to drive out of the mine when a coworker yelled at me — pointing to my back,” he recalled. Behind him, the mine’s overburden dump — a heap of excavated earth and rubble some 220-feet (65 meters) high — had collapsed into the pit, burying the workers and machines laboring within. Others were not so fortunate. “Maybe he will come back. Who has known the wish of Almighty,” said 24-year-old Ayesha Khatoon, widow of coal miner Parvez Alam, while holding on to their two-year-old daughter Arsha. Parvez was among the 23 workers killed in the Dec. 29 incident. More than a month after the disaster, his body is yet to be recovered. “In absence of the body, we are having to run from pillar to post to obtain the death certificate so that our family at least receives the legitimate compensation,” his brother Tabrez said. Like Parvez, the bodies of four other workers are still buried within the mine.