Kazakhstan: at least five dead in a mining accident

Kazakhstan: at least five dead in mining accident

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At least five people have been killed and four injured after a firedamp strike at a coal mine in central Kazakhstan, the Emergency Situations Ministry of Central Asia's largest country said on Thursday . 

“On November 3 in Shakhtinsk in the Lenin mine belonging to ArcelorMittal, a sudden release of gas during the drilling of a drainage well led to the death of five workers,” the ministry spokesman told AFP. Ruslan Imankulov.

After giving an initial death toll of four, Mr. Imankulov indicated that the fifth victim was a worker who had previously been reported missing.

According to the same source, “four people were hospitalized and 106 were evacuated”.

The mine is located in the Karaganda region, about fifty kilometers from the eponymous capital of this industrial center rich in raw materials.

The governor of the region, who arrived at the scene of the accident, announced that it was an “explosion of methane”, a gas which, from a certain proportion in contact with oxygen, causes an explosion.

An investigation for ” violation of safety rules in mining or construction work” was opened by a government commission.

In a statement, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev sent his “condolences to the families and friends of the deceased workers” and wished a “speedy recovery to the injured”.

Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic and the largest economy in Central Asia, is particularly rich in oil, gas, but also uranium, manganese, iron, chromium and coal.

Mine accidents are quite common in the countries s of the former Soviet Union due to both dilapidated facilities and lax security.