Rocanville Potash Corp mine.
Credits: REUTERS/David Stobbe
ROCANVILLE, SK -- Good news emerged late Tuesday evening from a potash mine in southeastern Saskatchewan where 20 workers remained trapped.
A blaze broke out at the mine near Rocanville, about 200 km east of Regina, around 2 a.m., but was extinguished Tuesday afternoon.
Terry Daniel, the mill's operations superintendent, said he believes the fire was caused by three reels of electrical cable that caught on fire.
"It appears at this point that we've got all of the hot spots contained or identified and out, and the area has been cooled," Daniel said. "And, so the next step of the process will be to get our mine rescue teams to check the air quality and start escorting some of the people from the refuge stations to the surface."
He estimated the operation would take between an hour and two hours.
Earlier in the day, Daniel said mine rescue teams were "working hard just to make sure everything is secure under there, and we'll be monitoring the air quality in anticipation of getting things cleared out and bringing up the workers that were at the refuge stations.
"We run many cubic metres of fresh air down the shafts routinely, and so what will happen is that fresh air will then actually clear our the exhaust from the smoke."
Daniel said there is sufficient oxygen to sustain 15 people for 72 hours. As well, he said the miners have access to food, playing cards, water and washrooms.
No injuries have been reported, and the failies of the miners have been contacted, he said.
Nine workers were rescued earlier Tuesday.
Mining at the site is done at a depth of 960 metres, according to the company's website.
The workers underground are safe and in communication with officials above ground, a company statement said.