Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saskatchewan potash miners exit mine after being trapped by fire

After being trapped in a potash mine following a fire, Saskatchewan workers are exiting to the surface. Twenty miners were able to reach an underground safe room after the fire broke out.
The fire had broken out in the early morning hours of Tuesday (Sept. 25). Alll the trapped miners were able to make it to a safe room where they were able to communicate with those on the surface. The fire was put out earlier in the day but tests had to be made on the air quality before the miners were allowed to exit the safe rooms and travel to the surface.
The journey to the surface took about 45 minutes. There were fifteen workers in the first group to exit the mine. There were five workers still underground as of the early evening.
The fire started at about 2 a.m. at the Rocanville mine belonging to the Potash Corp. The miners were all able to reach a safe room where they could communicate with those outside the mine. No one was injured and the 20 miners were never in danger according to manager of public affairs for the company, Bill Cooper.
A mine rescue team spent the morning trying to put out the fire. Cooper said:
"Putting a fire out in a mine is much different than putting one out above ground. You have to consider the safety of your employees underground and your mine teams and you move as quickly as you can in a safe manner."
Mechanic Ben Mitchell, was able to call his fiancee from a phone in a safe room at just before 8 this morning.. His fiancee said:
"He called and just said that he was safe in there, that he was in there by himself because nobody was … working with him at the time.The mine would be calling him every hour to make sure that he was OK."
There were 29 originally in the mine when the fire started but 9 were lifted out by late morning while the others were able to get to a safe room.
Although the cause of the fire has still not been determined, a large wooden spool caught fire for some reason. The mine is near Rocanville about 230 kilometers east of Regina the capital of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan is rich in deposits of potash.

No comments: