By Michelle Graff
An aerial shot of Alrosa’s Mir mine, where a flood killed eight workers over the summer. The Russian mining company said the accident was the results of conditions deteriorating over years, not a sudden incident.
Moscow--Two top Alrosa officials have been fired and 22 more reprimanded and fined following an August accident at the Mir Diamond Mine in Siberia that killed eight workers.

The mining company said following the fatal accident, the Russian government formed a committee comprised of four expert groups of Russian specialists and scientists.

Together, they determined that the accident was the cause of hydrogeological, technical and organizational factors, chief among them the hydrogeological complexity of the Mir deposit and the fact at the company did not fully take this complexity into account when designing the mine.

The commission identified 16 officials responsible for the violations, though Alrosa later expanded that list to 24.

The company announced it was firing Mikhail Lopatinsky, the director of the Mirny Mining and Processing Division, and the division’s chief engineer, Alexander Kisilichin.

The other 22 were reprimanded and fined. Alrosa said the committee also recommended that it review the competency of Alexey Burkser, head of Mir underground mine, and Chief Engineer Sergey Ekel.

The accident at Mir happened Aug. 4 when water rushed into the open-pit mine, initially trapping 151 workers underground.

Alrosa was able to bring 142 workers to the surface within hours of the accident and rescued one more the following day. Eight men remained trapped underground.

The mining company called off the search for the missing miners on Aug. 26.

In addition to recommending dismissals and disciplinary action, the commission also noted the improper execution of existing legislative and statutory acts and internal regulations by Alexander Chaadaev, who was the director of the Yakutniproalmaz Institute--established to solve problems of engineering, design and construction of mines and processing facilities--when the accident happened.

Alrosa said Chaadaev already has left the company and Andrey Zelberg, previously head of the company’s Technical Department, has taken his place.
Zelberg will be in charge of creating a forecasting system for future risks when developing diamond deposits.

The Mir mine remains closed.

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