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Death toll in ArcelorMittal coal mine accident in Kazakhstan rises to 21

Another 23 miners remaining underground

ASTANA, October 28. /TASS/. The death toll in a fire accident at the ArcelorMittal-operated Kostenko coal mine in central Kazakhstan has risen to 21, with another 23 miners remaining underground, the operator ArcelorMittal Temirtau said.

Earlier reports said 20 people had been killed in the fire.

"Of 252 miners, 208 have been taken out, of which 18 people sought medical assistance. As many as 23 miners remain underground. The bodies of 21 miners have been found. The rescue effort is ongoing," the operator said in a statement.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered the cabinet to halt investment cooperation with ArcelorMittal Temirtau, the republic’s largest miner, in the wake of the accident.

The Kazakh government has reached a preliminary agreement with ArcelorMittal Temirtau shareholders, and the deal to transfer the company’s ownership to the Republic of Kazakhstan is currently being finalized.