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Methane data falsified at coal mine where deadly blast killed 51, Putin says

03 December 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the country’s mining industry that those who fail to comply with safety regulations would be punished according to the law, harshly. Putin made the comments during a televised meeting with officials on December 2 following the Listvyazhnaya coal mine explosion in Russia’s Kemerovo Region that killed 51 people on November 25.

Image: The Kremlin
Image: The Kremlin

During the meeting, Putin said that a preliminary report had revealed that the management of the Listvyazhnaya mine had attempted to hide details about high methane levels in the mine and had gone as far as to falsify methane sensor data.

Officials have said that three managers of the coal mine and two safety inspectors have been detained on suspicion of criminal negligence and breaking safety rules. The Listvyazhnaya mine is owned by SDS-Ugol. The Directors of the company took part in the televised meeting with Putin and said that while the mine had a three-stage gas control system and portable gas sensors, human factors had led to the safety measures not working as intended.

During the meeting, Putin said: “Of course, we must investigate all the causes and circumstances of the accident. The relevant instructions have been given to the General Prosecutor’s Office. As reported, according to the preliminary data, the accident happened due to an entire range of safety violations. The region’s administration has already issued instructions to inspect all the mines in the region and analyse their fire safety condition, including the availability and serviceability of sensors showing methane concentration in the air.

“It is well known that miners’ work involves higher risk. At the same time, it is unacceptable to abuse and exploit the courage of people who descend into mines. Their lives and health must be protected, and this is the personal responsibility of everyone who is involved in organising extraction: heads of enterprises, representatives of oversight and supervisory bodies, and owners.

Those who, in pursuit of profit or for some other reason, ignore, neglect the safety of people and expose them to mortal danger, must be punished according to the law, harshly, and held responsible for compliance with safety rules in mines and at all facilities of the mining industry, as well as for the proper condition of equipment and personal rescue equipment.”

Efforts to brings bodies to the surface are continuing with rescuers from Russia’s Emergencies Ministry (EMERCOM) searching the mine. EMERCOM said that as of December 2, the gas situation in the mine had been stabilised. To ensure safe access to the mine, the rescuers pumped out water from the main drainage basin, drilled wells and pumped inert gas into the mine.

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