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Pioneer gold mine

Rescuers battle rubble and water in race to save 13 trapped Russian miners

Rescuers battle rubble and water in race to save 13 trapped Russian miners
A Russian investigator examining the Pioneer gold mine, where miners were trapped after a rock fall, in the Amur region, Russia, 19 March 2024. A mountain mass collapsed on the evening of 18 March at a depth of about 125 meters at the Pioneer deposit in the Amur Region, trapping at least 13 workers. According to the head of the Russian Ministry of Emergencies, Alexander Kurenkov, rescuers are not yet able to contact the miners locked in the mine. EPA-EFE/RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE COMMITEE / HANDOUT -- BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE -

MOSCOW, March 20 (Reuters) - Rescuers in Russia's far east battled rubble and water on Wednesday in an attempt to save 13 miners who have been trapped 120 metres (390 feet) underground in a gold mine for nearly two days.

The miners were trapped on Monday by a rock fall at the Pioneer gold mine. The mine, one of Russia’s largest, is located in the Amur region which borders China, about 5,300 km (3,300 miles) east of Moscow.

“The situation remains difficult,” Amur Governor Vasily Orlov said on Telegram. Orlov said that specialist mine rescuers had flown in from Russia’s vast coal region, the Kuznetsk Basin known as Kuzbass, and other Siberian regions.

He said hundreds of rescuers had cleared swathes of rubble and rock and that they were pumping out water. There was no contact with the trapped miners.

Orlov said that rescuers had decided to drill down through several hundred metres of rock to where the miners are, in an attempt to assess their condition and establish contact.

President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the situation and ordered that every effort be made to save the miners, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

Russian emergency services said on Wednesday that the volume of rubble and rock at the mine was nine times larger than previously estimated, the RIA state news agency reported.

The mine is owned by sanctions-hit Russian copper and gold producer UMMC.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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