Miners Still Missing after Flood in ALROSA's Mir Diamond Mine

Mining and Exploration
07/08/2017 09:42

As first reported Friday, August 4, rescue teams are searching for eight workers missing in the Mir underground mine owned by Russian diamond miner Alrosa after water leaked into an underground shaft on Friday morning, the company said. A total of 133 miners had been brought to the surface after the flood, Alrosa said in a statement citing its CEO Sergey Ivanov. There were 142 workers underground when the accident happened. No casualties have been reported so far and there was no word from Alrosa on the chances that the nine missing miners could still be rescued. The water flooded into the mine shaft from an open-pit mine above it earlier on Friday. The Mir mine is located near the town of Mirny in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) - the townhas declared a state of emergency. After an initial report that nine miners were missing, one man was rescued on Saturday morning.

Rough-polished.com provided an update on the situation yesterday: "The rescue teams working at the Mir Mine developed by ALROSA outlined new routes for their operations aimed to find eight miners still remaining underground. The group, which operates inside the mine, is planned to be strengthened by 35 mine rescuers and by miners equipped with additional equipment. The company continues to clear underground excavations on Levels 210 and 310. Several teams of mine rescuers and three loading-and-transporting machines removing rock mass from the mine are engaged on the scene. On August 6, seven mine rescuers and rock climbers from Aikhal were brought to Mirny, where they will inspect the exits of the mine’s ventilation shafts and galleries. This will give more exact information on the presence, location and condition of people locked underground. In total, they are going to explore about 50 hectares of the quarry surface during this Sunday."

"In parallel," they add, "the mine is being constantly monitored for water inflows in its vertical shaft. Pumps installed on the level of -235 meters underground are pumping out quarry water. At the same time, there are 3 to 4 teams simultaneously present at the mine, each containing 5 to 7 mining specialists. In addition, they are assisted by the company’s employees who know the mine well. The workers of the mine are moving along together with rescuers, at the same time setting up ventilation systems."

Chief Executive Sergey Ivanov said every effort was being made to find the other workers. The adjacent open-pit mine, one of the world's largest excavated holes, is no longer operational, as mining has moved underground. However, flooding of the exhausted quarry may have caused the problem, according to local emergency services, as water leaked into one of the active mine's pumping stations. The crater contained some 300,000 cubic meters of water, the equivalent of 120 Olympic-size swimming pools, the emergencies ministry said.