12 May 2010 10:38

Siberian mine disaster could cost Russia over 5 Bln rubles

MEZHDURECHENSK. May 12 (Interfax) - The recent gas explosions at the Raspadskaya coal mine in Siberia could cost the state more than five billion rubles, Kemerovo Region Governor Aman Tuleyev told journalists.

"We have calculated that damage caused as a result of the destruction of buildings on the surface stands at 700 million rubles, and inside the mine approximately five billion rubles. But these estimates are not final," Tuleyev said.

The damaged mine will resume operations gradually, the governor said.

"Rebuilding the first section of the mine will take nearly four months, and restoring the second part two months. This is our tentative forecast," Tuleyev said.

Every fifth tonne of coking coal produced by Russia's entire metallurgical industry originates from the Raspadskaya mine, the governor said.

"Virtually the whole metallurgical industry depends on it [the Raspadskaya mine]. We will now have to think how to restructure our entire coal production work," he said.

Up to 359 people were underground when the first explosion happened at 8:54 p.m. Moscow time on May 8. A total of 259 people were brought safely to the surface. The second explosion came several hours later when 54 rescuers were working at the mine.