An aerial shot of Alrosa’s Udachny underground diamond mine in the Sakha Republic region of Russia, which is located in the far eastern portion of the country. A worker was killed at the mine last week while setting explosives in a tunnel.
Moscow—A worker at Alrosa’s Udachny diamond mine was killed last week in an explosion in one of the underground mine’s tunnels.

According to Alrosa, the accident happened July 11.

At about 5:26 a.m. local time that day, the operator’s console at Udachny received a message that there had been an explosion at a site where a worker was setting explosives for blasting. The worker, identified only as a 42-year-old male employed by the company’s Aikhal-Udachninsky specialized mine-building department, died as a result of the accident.

Alrosa said all 174 workers in the mine at the time of the accident, except those at security posts, were evacuated and those working for a paramilitary mine-rescuing unit went into action.

About three hours later, at 8:09 a.m., work resumed at the mine. Alrosa determined that there were no gas leaks and no rock fall in the tunnel where the explosion occurred.

The fatal explosion comes less than a year after eight workers were killed when the Mir diamond mine in Siberia flooded. The company fired two top executives following the August 2017 accident, including the Mirny division’s chief engineer.

Alrosa said it has assembled a commission to investigate the explosion at Udachny. No further details will be available until the investigation is completed.

On Monday, the mining company issued a statement saying it was working to improve safety at all its facilities and has implemented a number of reforms since the beginning of the year, including separating industrial safety control services from the production units and making them directly accountable to CEO Sergey Ivanov Jr. to ensure full independence of their work. The company also started an internal communications program to convey to staff key principles of safety, employees’ responsibility for their health and the lives of their colleagues.

“Our goal is to minimize the number of incidents, even minor ones,” Alrosa said.

All Alrosa Group employees are insured under a collective insurance contract, which provides compensation in the event of an accident at work amounting to 2 million rubles (about $32,000). In addition, material assistance, the sum of which was not disclosed, will also be paid to the family of the deceased worker in accordance with the collective agreement between Alrosa and the Profalmaz trade union.

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