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About 150 people being evacuated from Russia's Alrosa mine due to flooding

August 04, 12:32 UTC+3

Rescuers have established connection with 130 workers

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© Alexandr Ryumin/TASS

MOSCOW, August 4. /TASS/. The pump station of the Mir underground mine of Russia’s diamond producer Alrosa in the Siberian Republic of Yakutia has been inundated and 151 workers are being evacuated, Yakutia’s Emergencies Ministry told TASS.

"Evacuation is in progress. Workers are being brought to the surface. There were 151 men inside at the moment," the source said.

There have been no immediate reports of casualties.

The location of 90 miners has been established, according to the source.

Rescuers have established connection with 130 workers, the Russian Emergencies Ministry told TASS.

"As of 13:00 Moscow time, connection with 130 workers trapped in the mine has been established, electric energy is being supplied, and work of two hoisting units has been organized. Evacuation is underway," the ministry said. 

The source in the ministry also said that about 200,000 cubic meters had flooded the Mir mine.

"It has been established that at the depth of 210 meters, the VKS-2 pumping station has been flooded. According to preliminary reports, as many as 200,000 cubic meters of underground water flooded the mine," the source said.

He also pointed out that the evacuation process was being hampered by a power outage since hoisting machines had stopped operating and two cargo cages were being used to evacuate the miners.

According to the Alrosa company, the water outbreak took place at 16:30 local time on Friday, when a total of 148 people were down in the mine. The rescue operation continues, Alrosa CEO Sergei Ivanov has headed to the town of Mirny where the mine is located.

The Mir mine is operated by the Mirninsky mining and refining facility, Alrosa’s oldest enterprise. The mine was launched in 2009, its capacity amounts to one million tonnes of ore per year. In 2016, the mine produced 3.19 mln carats of rough diamonds.

This is the second emergency situation occurring in the mine within one week. On July 29, a rock slide buried a loading machine killing a mineworker.

Alrosa’s shares fell by 2.5% in Moscow stock exchange trading to 81.9 rubles a piece on the news a large amount of water broke into the Mir mine when there were more than a hundred workers underground. At a certain point the company’s shares dropped by 3.5% to 81.02 rubles a share.

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