Russia's Alrosa still searching for 9 workers after diamond mine floods

Rescue teams are still searching for nine workers missing in an underground mine owned by Russian diamond miner Alrosa after water flooded in on Friday, the company says.

Siberian pit mine owned by Alrosa flooded on Friday after water burst from quarry

Miners leave the Mir diamond mine as a group of rescuers arrive. Russian officials say several people are missing inside the flooded pit mine. (Alrosa/Associated Press)

Rescue teams are still searching for nine workers missing in an underground mine owned by Russian diamond miner Alrosa that flooded with water on Friday, the company says.
A total of 133 miners were brought to the surface after the flood started, Alrosa said in a statement citing its chief executive Sergey Ivanov. There were 142 workers underground when the flood happened and nine more were preparing to go down to the mine.
No casualties have been reported so far and there was no word from Alrosa on the chances that the nine missing miners could still be rescued. The water flooded into the mine shaft from an open-cast mine above it earlier on Friday.

Ambulance vehicles at the the Mir diamond mine, which flooded after water broke through a quarry. (Alrosa/Associated Press)

Dangerous water levels

Local media reported last week that mine workers recorded dangerously high levels of underground water and that the company had installed extra pumps to pump it out.

The underground mine, known as "Mir," the Russian word for "peace," accounts for nine per cent of Alrosa's rough diamond production, analysts at BCS investment bank said in a note.
State-controlled Alrosa is the world's largest producer of rough diamonds in carat terms. Together with Anglo American's De Beers unit, it produces about half of the world's rough diamonds.
The mine is in the remote and inhospitable Yakutia region of eastern Siberia. Soviet geologists discovered the first diamond deposits at the site in the 1950s.

Production at mine stopped 

Shares in Alrosa were down one per cent in Moscow on Friday, underperforming a 0.6-per cent decline in the broader MICEX index.

A group of rescuers at the the diamond pit mine, where Russian officials say several people remain missing. (Alrosa/Associated Press)

Alrosa said production at the mine had been halted. Risks for Alrosa's total output are limited because its other mines can increase production if needed, Nikolay Sosnovskiy, an analyst at Prosperity Capital Management, said.
Sosnovskiy said there was unlikely to be a shortage of gems because Alrosa's production usually spikes in the third quarter due to seasonal output from alluvial operations.

With files from The Associated Press