Blast at Kazakh mine kills more than 40

At least 41 people were killed on Wednesday when an underground explosion tore through a coal mine in Kazakhstan belonging to Mittal Steel, a senior company official said.

The Lenin mine, where the blast occurred just before 9am local time, is one of eight supplying coal to the company’s Temirtau factory, one of the world’s biggest steel plants and the Central Asian country’s largest.

“According to preliminary but almost certain data, 41 people have perished,” Grigory Prezent, deputy coal department director of Mittal Steel Temirtau, told reporters at the scene.

“Thirty-two bodies have been found. They are being recovered at the moment.”

The steel plant in the central region of Karaganda, 200km south of the capital Astana, continued to work as normal, a company source said, and the accident would not affect customers.

“The head of state Nursultan Nazarbayev has expressed his condolences to the families of the ... miners who died as a result of an accident in the Mittal Steel Temirtau mine,” the presidential website said.

The blast occurred at a depth of 500m, and 324 miners working underground were able to scramble to safety, local media reports said.
The ensuing fire continued to blaze.

The Lenin mine, a labyrinth of seven shafts, was commissioned in 1964 and was the scene in November 2002 of a gas explosion in which 13 miners were killed.—Reuters

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