15 Jan 2024 12:11

Operations in inundated areas at Vorkutaugol coal mine halted, personnel evacuated

SYKTYVKAR (Komi Republic). Jan 15 (Interfax) - Workers were lifted to the surface after the mine floor was flooded with groundwater at the Zapolyarnaya coal mine operated by Vorkutaugol early on Monday, and mining operations have been suspended, the company's press service said.

A sudden breakthrough of groundwater occurred when one mine working was being connected to another at the Zapolyarnaya coal mine at 4:28 a.m. on Monday. There were three miners underground when the accident happened. One of them was hospitalized with light injuries and is undergoing treatment. Another injured miner was found without any vital signs. The third worker went out to the surface independently with no injuries.

"Workers have been evacuated from the mine to the surface. At this point, all activities have been suspended in the mine. An ad hoc commission is working at the company to determine the causes of the accident," the press service said.

The Vorkuta Interdistrict Prosecutor's Office for supervising legal compliance in the coal industry has organized an inspection following the incident at the mine. It will assess how Vorkutaugol complies with labor and industrial safety laws at hazardous industrial facilities. In addition, it will check whether officials at government supervisory agencies are exercising their powers to the full extent and in a timely fashion. Following the inspection, prosecutors will take measures accordingly if there are legitimate grounds to act, the press service for the Komi Prosecutor's Office said.

As reported previously, the mine was partially flooded at a depth of 600 meters following a groundwater breakthrough on the morning of January 15. Personnel of the Vorkuta Mine Rescue Paramilitary Squad and a medical team headed to the emergency site. In total, a shift comprising 60 workers was in the mine at the time.

Vorkutaugol is one of the largest integrated coal mining enterprises in Russia. Roman Trotsenko's Russian Energy Group has been the company's owner since spring 2022. Trotsenko earlier paid Severstal 15 billion rubles to buy the coal asset.