45 people have lost their lives in a fire at an ArcelorMittal mine in Kazakhstan, in what is being referred to as the worst accident in the country’s post-Soviet history.
The tragedy, which took place at the Kostenko coalmine in the Karaganda region on 28 October, came after a series of deadly incidents at ArcelorMittal mines and has prompted the nationalisation of the company’s local affiliate.
The previous deadliest mine accident in post-Soviet Kazakhstan occurred in 2006, killing 41 miners at another ArcelorMittal site. It came two months after another incident that killed five miners.
Kazakhstan president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has ordered co-operation with the Luxembourg-based company to be ‘brought to an end’.
The Kazakh government and the steel giant announced a preliminary agreement to ‘transfer ownership of the [local] firm in favour of the Republic of Kazakhstan’, said the prime minister, Alikhan Smailov.
“ArcelorMittal can confirm that the two parties have … signed a preliminary agreement for a transaction that will transfer ownership to the Republic of Kazakhstan.”Statement from ArcelorMittal
“ArcelorMittal can confirm that the two parties have … signed a preliminary agreement for a transaction that will transfer ownership to the Republic of Kazakhstan,” the global steel company stated, adding it was committed to “finalising this transaction as soon as possible”.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, about 200 miners have died in Kazakhstan, the vast majority at ArcelorMittal sites.
There were 252 people inside the mine when the fire started, ArcelorMittal said.
Source: The Guardian