Arcelor-Mittal Temirtau may lose mining licence in Kazakh

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Moscow, Feb 19 (UNI) Arcelor-Mittal Temirtau, the owners of the Abaiskaya mine, where 30 miners died in a methane blast in January, may lose their licence over safety violations, Kazakhstan's Emergency Minister Vladimir Bozhko said today.

Mr Bozhko said at a governmental meeting in Astana, the Kazakh capital, that the subsidiary of the world's largest steel company, Arcelor-Mittal, had been warned that, ''if no measures to ensure the safety of miners were taken, the mining licence could be withdrawn.'' Kazakh Prime Minister suggested that changes to the law be adopted to make the owners responsible for safety.

RIA Novosti quoted Mr Bozhko as saying that the special government commission investigating the explosion had concluded that safety violations and a lack of risk prevention measures caused the blast and blamed the company's management.

The blast occurred on January 11 when 191 miners were working underground, 161 were rescued. Seven bodies were recovered, but the remaining 23 missing miners were never found.

The explosion caused a massive underground blaze. The Ministry was forced to flood the mine in central Kazakhstan to prevent the fire from spreading further.

UNI XC SKB VC1758

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