MOSCOW, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Three miners died on Sunday in an accident at a Siberian coal mine owned by Evraz Group HK1q.L, Russia’s largest steel maker by domestic volume, the company and the Emergencies Ministry said.
The accident occurred at around 0845 local time (0045 GMT) at Mine No. 12 in Kiselyovsk, a town in the western Siberian region of Kemerovo, the ministry said. An investigation is under way to establish the cause.
Officials could not say whether production would be affected.
“There was an accident. Three people died,” a spokesman for the Emergencies Ministry in Moscow said. “Over 70 people were inside the mine at the time of the accident. All the rest have been moved out to the surface.”
The ministry official said there had been “a breach of the technological process with methane involved”, but he did not confirm whether or not there had been an explosion.
“An investigation is being carried out to find out the reasons.”
A Moscow-based spokesman for Evraz confirmed three miners had died in an accident at the mine. He gave no further details regarding the cause of the accident or whether production would be affected.
Mine No. 12 is one of the oldest active mines in Kiselyovsk. The first coal was mined at the site in 1917.
Evraz Group acquired full ownership of the mine in March 2005. Mine No. 12 produced 893,000 tonnes of coal in 2007, including over 667,000 tonnes of coking coal used in the steel industry, Evraz said on its Web site, www.evraz.com.
Evraz, part-owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, has other coal assets in Kemerovo region, Russia’s coal-mining heartland. The company owns coal-mining firm Yuzhkuzbassugol and is part-owner of another mining company, Raspadskaya (RASP.MM). (Reporting by Robin Paxton and Tanya Mosolova; editing by Rory Channing)