Moscow–Eight miners at Alrosa’s Mir diamond mine are still missing following a flood at the mine Friday.
According to Alrosa, a “sharp deterioration in mining and geological conditions” caused an “uncontrolled in-rush of water” into Mir underground, trapping 151 miners.
The mining company immediately launched its emergency response plan and rescued 142 workers within hours of the accident. Another worker, Alisher Ismailovich Mirzaev, was brought to the surface Saturday.
As of Wednesday morning, eight miners remained underground: drill rig operators Alexey Vladimirovich Vlasenko, Dmitry Evgenievich Zhukov and Dmitry Mikhailovich Mariin; shift foreman Valentin Anatolievich Misnik; blaster Igor Anatolievich Stepanov; acting foreman Vitaly Vitalievich Kulikov; stope miner Gleb Alexandrovich Mirontsev; and drill rig operator Mikhail Yurievich Neustroev.
Unable to get to the trapped miners using the planned routes, Alrosa said Tuesday that seven rope technicians descended the slopes of the open-pit portion of Mirny to reach water-collecting wells, but added that the attempt to get in touch with the missing miners by tapping was unsuccessful.
More than 330 people and over 30 units of equipment are involved in the search, which continued as of Wednesday morning. The rope technicians will try to get in touch with the miners again today, according to the diamond miner.
Alrosa said its emergency warning and location determining system saved the lives of dozens of miners, including Mirzaev, the miner brought to the surface Saturday who was spotted at the underground level 410 due to his radio location mark.
The marks also have helped rescuers establish where they believe the eight still-missing miners were at the time of accident.
The Mir mine is under the umbrella of the Mirny mining and processing division, which is Alrosa’s oldest MPD.
Mir underground has been in operation since 2009 and is expected to produce 1 million tons of ore per year up to 2043.
Alrosa said the mine was operating in full compliance with all technical and safety requirements, and passed the Main State Expert Review board and repeated expert appraisals of industrial safety. It added that Mir underground has never had its operations suspended due to a pre-emergency or emergency situation.
The company has suspended Mikhail Lopatinsky, director of Mirny MPD, until it completes a post-accident inspection of the site.
In addition, Alrosa confirmed that the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has launched its own inquiry into the accident.