Mosaic miners spent Saturday in refuge stations

March 4, 2018 6:08 pm

Fifty-five miners at Mosaic Esterhazy spent much of their Saturday in underground refuges, after a small fire broke out at Mosaic’s K2 potash mine.

According to Mosaic spokesperson Sarah Fedorchuk, the fire was detected around midnight. It was likely caused by a malfunctioning conveyer belt.

“Smoke was reported underground,” she said. “Our mine rescue teams put the fire out approximately two hours later.”

About 77 employees were initially affected, but some were able to evacuate shortly after the fire was extinguished. The rest were sent to “refuge stations” while the company tested the air quality in the mine.

“The fire itself was not very large,” said Fedorchuk. “There was not a lot of damage. It’s just the smoke. We want to make sure the air circulation is good before we bring people up.”

There were no injuries, according to Fedorchuk, though some employees were “checked over.” The refuge stations are safe and secure, she said, and well equipped with water and other supplies.

All of the miners were evacuated by 8 p.m. Saturday.

“I know they were happy to get on the surface,” said Fedorchuk. “But mostly because there’s nothing to do in a refuge.

“They were pretty bored.”

The mine is already up and running again, she added. The incident is being investigated. The company will then determine what steps may be necessary to avoid a repeat of the small blaze.