16 Oct 2017 15:06

Smoke seen at Uralkali's Solikamsk 1 mine, processing plant working as usual

MOSCOW. Oct 16 (Interfax) - Smoke was seen coming from potash miner Uralkali's Solikamsk-1 (SKRU-1) mine earlier on Monday, but the carnallite processing plant there is working as normal, a company spokesperson told Interfax.

"Smoke at face 5 of the SKRU-1 mine's southwestern sector was reported at 12:25 p.m. [local time] on October 16. The emergency protocol was activated, and personnel were evacuated from the smoke zone. A rescue unit has been searching the face for the source of the smoke. There are no casualties," the spokesperson said.

The evacuation is now complete and almost 300 miners have been brought safely to the surface.

The regional technical oversight service (Rostechnadzor) told Interfax that it was not currently planning to launch an investigation into the incident. It said equipment being dismantled had caught fire but that the fire had been contained quickly and had not spread to the working section of the pit face.

Uralkali's shares initially fell 1% on news that smoke could be seen coming from one of its mines, but they corrected up when it transpired the incident had not affected production. Uralkali was trading at 135.4 rubles a share on the Moscow Exchange at 1:00 p.m., down 0.8% from previous closing.

SKRU-1 is Uralkali's only carnallite mine. It supplies carnallite to VSMPO-Avisma , which supplies titanium to the world's largest aircraft corporations.

Uralkali is one of the world's biggest potash miners, with capacity to produced 13.1 million tonnes of this per year.