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Author Topic: 70 miners trapped in burning potash mine
Loretta
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posted 29 January 2006 09:37 PM      Profile for Loretta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The story is here.
From: The West Kootenays of BC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 29 January 2006 09:48 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How ghastly. I hope they are okay!
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
maestro
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posted 29 January 2006 11:03 PM      Profile for maestro     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
All miners found safe!!!

Miners found safe in Saskatchewan mine

After postiing this, I read further and discovered the miners were still underground, but apparently all have been contacted, and they should be all out in a few hours.

Let's hope that's true.

[ 29 January 2006: Message edited by: maestro ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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posted 30 January 2006 10:34 AM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Rescuers save 67 miners

quote:
ESTERHAZY, Saskatchewan - Rescuers retrieved 67 western Canadian potash miners who had been trapped underground by a fire, but several more miners were still in subterranean emergency chambers Monday waiting for help.

Seventy-two miners were trapped early Sunday when a fire started in polyethylene piping more than a half-mile underground.

When toxic smoke began to fill the tunnels, the miners retreated to so-called refuge stations — spacious chambers that can be sealed off and are equipped with supplies of oxygen, food and water.

Thirty-two miners were brought to the surface at about 3:30 a.m., said Mosaic Co., which owns the mine. Another 35 emerged a few hours later. No serious injuries were reported.

"They are glad to be on the surface," said Brian Hagan, director of health and safety for Dynatech, the contractor that employed the miners. "They protected themselves and that is what they are trained to do."

Marshall Hamilton, a spokesman for Mosaic Potash, said Monday morning that the five remaining miners were safe and expected to be brought to the surface shortly.



From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 30 January 2006 07:21 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Zoot, didn't you do oral history film recordings with some of those miners?
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 30 January 2006 07:51 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Mine officials said it was too early to speculate about the cause of the fire.

Some of the trapped miners work for Dynatec, a contractor with the mine.


It seems there is a spasm of American interest in Canadian mineral resources, once again. I'm wondering what we'd find with Google search terms "Dynatec Corporation" and "safety violations"?.

I hope that any green kids on that site were given core training for underground mining with extensive safety training. Anything less than that would be criminal behaviour on the part of the company.


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Tommy_Paine
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posted 30 January 2006 08:29 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's doubtful any large company can brag that they have no safety violations.

Never one to suspect the best of corporations, I will say that after being owned by one of the more evil mining companies in the world, Phelps Dodge, our plant's safety record improved quite a bit.

For whatever reason, they took safety, very very seriously.

Wait for the papers to attribute this to a "miracle" when in fact the survival of all the miners was due to company and union working together for extensive safety training and planning.

And for every miner that lived through this, his and her life was won by hard losses in the past.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 30 January 2006 09:34 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I worked underground in that mine for two years.

It was still called IMC in those days (early 80s).

Safety was a big concern, although I could tell you of a couple of instances where the appearance of safety mattered far more than genuine concern for the miners' health.

Overall, though, it was a very safe working environment, even though we were 3,000 feet below the surface, and also below an underground lake (the "Blairmore").


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 30 January 2006 10:11 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
One of my favorite Johhny Cash tunes:

"Dark as a Dungeon."

Oh come all you young fellers so young and so fine
Seek not your fortune in a dark dreary mine
It'll form as a habit and seep in your soul
Till the stream of your blood runs as black as the coal
Where it's dark as a dungeon damp as the dew danger is double pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls the sun never shines
It's a dark as a dungeon way down in the mine

Well it's many a man that I've seen in my day
Like a fiend with his dope and a drunkard with his wine
A man will have lust for the lure of the mine
And pray when I'm dead and my ages shall roll
That my body would blacken and turn into coal
Then I'll look from the door of my heavenly home and pity the miner digging my bones
Where it's dark as a dungeon...

Heard that as a kid, from my brothers "Folsom Prison Blues" album, and never got it out of my head.

Now I'm old, I can hit all the low notes along with Johhny.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 31 January 2006 12:39 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sometimes I'd go deep into some back room, far from the noise of conveyor belts or even the faint sound of a Marietta miner grinding through the ore line.

I'd shut my hat lamp off and sit there, in complete silence (except for my breathing and the sound of my pulse in my ears) and in darkness like you cannot experience on the Earth's surface.

It was my DIY sensory-deprivation chamber.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
NWOntarian
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posted 31 January 2006 02:14 AM      Profile for NWOntarian   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
Wait for the papers to attribute this to a "miracle" when in fact the survival of all the miners was due to company and union working together for extensive safety training and planning.

Fortunately, that seems to be the spin this story is getting -- about the safety training and planning, that is. Looking at the stories on several newspaper sites, I haven't found any mention of a 'miracle' in any of them. Surprisingly, not even the American news sites that have picked the story up mention 'miracle'. They almost uniformly praise the workers for following the safety regulations and their training.

It's refreshing.

ETA: Though none of the stories I've read have mentioned the union.

[ 31 January 2006: Message edited by: NWOntarian ]


From: London, ON | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 31 January 2006 02:23 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
We had a safety meeting every month.

For something like a fire in the mine, or any similar emergency, we knew that we were to go to rescue stations - sealed-off areas with a phone, a "toilet," bottled water, and a crate of biscuits with the consistency of fossilized cardboard.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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posted 31 January 2006 02:04 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Jordan Barab posted some interesting thoughts on his excellent Confined Space Health and Safety blog:

quote:
The safe rescue of 72 Canadian potash miners from an underground fire was major news today -- in tragic contrast to the fourteen miners recently killed in West Virginia due to mine explosions and fires. The Canadian miners spent the night in airtight chambers packed with enough oxygen, food and water for several days.

The obvious question is: Why can't that happen here?

According to Davitt McAteer, who ran MSHA during the Clinton administration and is currently leading West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin's mine disaster investigation, the safety chambers in the Mosaic mine in Canada's central Saskatchewan province were key to the miners' survival.

"I think that the question of the existence of the chamber that provided oxygen, food and protection is fundamentally important in any kind of a mine," he said. He acknowledged, however, that potash mines are not nearly as dangerous as those for coal - where an initial explosion can provoke a secondary one 10 times as strong.

There are no such chambers in U.S. mines, he said, because back in the late 1970s, the U.S. government determined there was no material strong enough to withstand the secondary explosion. Since then, he said, NASA and the Defense Department have created stronger materials.

"If you can build a black box to withstand an explosion in an airplane, why can't you build one to escape an explosion in a mine?" he asked.


[ 31 January 2006: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 31 January 2006 02:40 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Regarding coals mines: The lack of safety not a question of technology or innovation, it's a question of economics. Underground coal mines cannot be operated both safely and at a profit. One of those two parameters must be sacrificed to get the burning black rock out of the ground...
From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
anne cameron
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posted 31 January 2006 02:44 PM      Profile for anne cameron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, but the "profit" part of it is always questionable...how much profit is "enough"...too many companies seem to feel there is never enough profit, they want more more more and that more comes at the expense of safety...
From: tahsis, british columbia | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
worker_drone
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posted 31 January 2006 02:59 PM      Profile for worker_drone        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Regarding coals mines: The lack of safety not a question of technology or innovation, it's a question of economics. Underground coal mines cannot be operated both safely and at a profit.

So says you. But this isn't the dark ages of the industrial revolution, where you can just coverup deaths and injuries in your operation (nor is it China....5000 mining deaths last year I understand).

Companies pay attention to safety because of the direct effect it has on profits...e.g. lost time and productivity due to accidents, legal liabilities resulting from death and injury. It's more profitable, in the long run, care about safety than it isn't. Unless your company is based in China.


From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 31 January 2006 03:11 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So says the Westray report.
From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 31 January 2006 09:02 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Companies pay attention to safety because of the direct effect it has on profits...e.g. lost time and productivity due to accidents, legal liabilities resulting from death and injury. It's more profitable, in the long run, care about safety than it isn't.

IMC (known today as Mosaic) cared about safety, but they also cared about the appearance of safety. My guess is insurance.

Anyway, I know of a few cases of lost-time accidents that were made to look less severe by having the injured employee show up at the mine and do what was euphemistically called "light duty." One guy who couldn't make it out to the mine had his time cards delivered to his house every shift.

When someone was killed at work these ploys wouldn't work so well.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 31 January 2006 09:43 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've been trying to find out what sort of fire there was in the mine. So far all I can tell is that some ventilation tubing caught on fire.

While looking for clues I came across this:

quote:
Mine officials were quickly able to establish radio contact with about 40 of the workers, who camped out in two refuge rooms.

I know technology has advanced a lot in the last 25 years, but I don't see how a radio would work underground. Like I said earlier, the rescue stations had direct phone lines to the dispatcher.


web page


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 01 February 2006 08:08 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by al-Qa'bong:
We had a safety meeting every month.

For something like a fire in the mine, or any similar emergency, we knew that we were to go to rescue stations - sealed-off areas with a phone, a "toilet," bottled water, and a crate of biscuits with the consistency of fossilized cardboard.


It was one of my first jobs away from home. No real training by big American mining company. I poked at some loose on the back of the stope face from my scaffold. This was after a blast. A few rocks came down. Went for lunch. Came back. Scaffold flattened by big pieces of granite. Mr geologist put us there for the afternoon but forgot to mention to them to go in and do a check before us green guys started poking around. Yikes!
And i've seen guys operating scoop trams with eyes that looked like two pee holes in the snow. Glad I'm not there.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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