The Ulyanovskaya coal mine in Russia’s Kemerovo Region will be restored after Monday’s explosion that claimed 108 lives. The management of the mine plans to start repair work as soon as the search operation for 2 missing miners is over.
“I confirm that the Ulyanovskaya mine will be restored. We are now working out a plan for repair work. Everything should be done by July, 1, approximately,”
Aman Tuleev, the Governor of the region, stated.
In the meantime, the search for the two missing miners will continue for two more days at the very least. As rescuers say, water is flooding the tunnels too fast for pumps, which is seriously hampering the operation.
Aman Tuleev explained how the efforts are progressing. “We have now deployed the miners themselves to conduct a thorough search, as they know the mine better than anyone else. The situation remains critical in two areas where a major part of the tunnel’s roof collapsed. Coal, metal and concrete needs to be cleared away, as people might still be under the debris,”
As for the cause of the accident, the Emergencies Minister Sergey Shoigu said it will take two weeks to determine it. He explained that time is needed to decode data from the equipment which was in operation when the methane explosion happened.
Investigators believe an engineering mistake may have occurred in the design of the mine resulting in the build up of gas. But a technical failure of equipment recently installed in the mine has not been ruled out. Some officials say human error is not a factor because the miners adhered strictly to security rules.
Meanwhile, the first funerals of the victims of the mine explosion took place on Wednesday.
Psychologists say they have helped more than 1,000 people cope with the tragedy.
61 miners have been buried on Thursday in three towns in the Kemerovo Region. Funerals of 30 more people will take place in Novokuznetsk on Friday and they will be attended by the Kemerovo Region Governor Aman Tuleev.
The local government has offered to the families of the victims up to 2 MLN rubles, which is approximately $US 75,000, for compensation. Also, their children are to be given funds for education.
Nevertheless, despite the tragedy, mining is still one of the most well paid and prestigious jobs for men in the region. Most survivors of the Ulyanovskaya accident and those who worked in other shifts in that mine say they will continue with the work as if nothing happened.