ALMATY, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Kazakhstan’s Emergencies Ministry said on Saturday that at least 32 people were killed and 14 missing in a mine fire in Kazakhstan. ArcelorMittal Temirtau, the local unit of Luxembourg steelmaker ArcelorMittal ( MT.LU ), said 206 of the 252 people working at the Kostenko mine were evacuated after a suspected methane explosion.
It is reported that eighteen people sought medical help. Kazakhstan’s President Tokayev expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, declared October 29 a national day of mourning and ordered the government to stop investment cooperation with ArcelorMittal Temirtau. The company said it had suspended operations at the coal mine for 24 hours to carry out gas protection tests. The government and the company also confirmed they were working to finalize a deal to nationalize the company that runs the country’s largest steel plant. “ArcelorMittal can also confirm that the parties have discussed the future of ArcelorMittal Temirtau and recently signed an agreement on the transfer of ownership to the Republic of Kazakhstan, as informed by the Government of Kazakhstan earlier today. “Preliminary agreement on the transaction,” said the miner. said .
“ArcelorMittal is committed to completing this transaction as quickly as possible to minimize disruption.”
Last month, First Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyars told reporters that Kazakhstan was negotiating with potential investors to take over the plant. He said the Cabinet was not satisfied with ArcelorMittal’s failure to meet its investment commitments, improve equipment and ensure the safety of workers after several fatal accidents.