At least 10 coalminers died in an explosion, which may have been caused by a build-up of methane, at a deposit owned by OAO Severstal, according to the Emergency Ministry.
Nine workers are still missing, while four escaped to the surface at the Vorkutinskaya mine in Russia’s northern Komi region, the ministry’s regional division said on its website.
About 20 workers at were in the area where the blast occurred at about 10 a.m. Moscow time, the regional police said in a statement on their website.
The Vorkutinskaya mine, built in 1973, has annual capacity of 1.8 million tons of coal, according to Severstal’s website. The steelmaker confirmed the blast in an e-mailed statement, without commenting on the cause or death toll. Severstal shares fell as much as 2.4 percent and traded down 2.1 percent at 357.40 rubles by 2:05 p.m. in Moscow.
“Reputational and political risks may be more important than financial losses,” Kirill Chuyko, head of equity research at BCS Financial Group in Moscow, said by phone. Severstal’s coal output is unlikely to suffer much, he said.
An investigation has been opened into potential safety violations at the mine, Interfax reported, citing Vladimir Markin, the Investigative Committee’s spokesman.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the government to provide aid to the families of the victims and those injured, Interfax reported.
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