"The search and rescue operation has been stopped at Mir underground mine. On August 26, at 9:10 am local time, the water volume accumulated in the open pit mine was 37,400 cubic meters. The danger of uncontrolled instantaneous inrush of the water into the mine shaft makes any rescue works underground impossible." So begins ALROSA's unfortunate but anticipated press release concerning the search for the eight miners who went missing three weeks ago when the underground Mir mine flooded. Another 134 miners were rescued at the time of the flood.
The search and rescue operation at Mir underground mine continued for three weeks. The rescue works were carried out 24 hours a day in three shifts. A total of 320 people were involved in the operation: 170 specialists of the Emergencies Ministry and about 150 employees of ALROSA. “It is with a heavy heart that I am forced to announce that there is no more hope that we can find the missing miners alive and bring them to the surface," said Sergey Ivanov, ALROSA President. "We are deeply shocked by what happened. This is a great tragedy for the whole company." His message assured relatives that the miner will pay the families some $34,000 (RUB 2 million) in compensation.
Production at the mine, which accounts for approximately 10 percent of ALROSA’s annual diamond output, has been halted since the incident due to the persistent risk of flooding, but the company still expects to reach its production goal of 39 million carats for 2017. The legal status of the miners remaining underground after the end of the search and rescue operation will be considered by the court in the near future.
Photo: Alrosa's Mir mine/Maria Vasiliyeva