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Mine cleared as fire breaks out

Staff Reporter

Blaze could be on for two weeks


  • `Vent seal' technology airlifted from South Africa
  • 2,000 coal workers have been laid off
  • Director of Mines Safety takes stock

    YELLANDU (KHAMMAM DIST): A 30-year-old coal mine of the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) has been evacuated as releases of methane noticed two weeks ago resulted in blaze calling for a major fire-fighting operation.

    About 2000 coal workers, engaged in the JK-5 incline have been laid off even as the company airlifted `vent seal' technology from South Africa at a cost of Rs. 1 crore for sealing 17 openings of the underground mine so as to stop air movement and to starve the fire of the oxygen it needs to burn.

    The fire, which broke out at a depth of 180 metres, could take two to three weeks to extinguish. The company has taken up drilling of surface boreholes for carbon flushing by engaging three rigs. A mix of the cement and water is being pumped into 29-dip section of the mine where the fire has been noticed from the seven surface boreholes completed so far.

    Officials' visit

    The Director and the Deputy Director of Mines Safety have visited the mine and took stock of the situation. The rescue service personnel have been monitoring the progress of the fire-fighting operation by analysing the amount of various gases available in the working areas of the mine.

    The SCCL General Manager, A. Purushottam, has said the company decided to evacuate the mine in view of the workers' safety. Some amounts of carbon monoxide were found near a roof collapse on March 28. The rescue services, which plunged into action, put up four stoppers cutting off the ventilation.

    Power supply off

    The rescue services have been called in as the release of methane is observed in dangerous proportion. Power supply to the mine is cut off before going in for fire-fighting exercises. The loss of coal production because of the closure of the mine is around 2000 tons a day.

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