Poland suffers second mine explosion in a week

Ten miners are trapped following an explosion in southern Poland, the second such incident in days

Contact with 10 miners was lost at the Zofiowka coal mine in southern Poland following an explosion in the early hours of Saturday, Polish media reported, citing officials. A total of 52 workers were in the area affected by the explosion – 42 were able to escape on their own.

The incident was reportedly caused by a release of methane. The incident happened at a depth of about 900 meters, according to local sources. A total of 30 rescuers in six teams have been dispatched to the mine, said JSW, the company that operates the facility. It is unknown at this time if there are any casualties.

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The incident comes just days after a series of explosions at another mine operated by JSW – Pniowek Coal Mine in the same region. The initial emergency occurred in the early hours of Wednesday and was followed by another explosion a few hours later. Five miners were killed and 25 injured, authorities said at the time.

On Thursday evening, other explosions hit the Pniowek mine, injuring 10 rescue workers. Authorities withdrew response teams and temporarily cordoned off the area of ​​the explosions to prevent further explosions.

Tomasz Cudny, the head of the mine, called him a “very difficult decision” as the missing seven miners are believed to still be in the area that is about to be cordoned off. It would be unreasonable to continue the operation under these conditions, he added.

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FILE PHOTO © Gajsky Mining and Processing Plant
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“It would be very risky and very irresponsible to send them to such a dangerous area,” Cudny said. Thursday’s explosion injured seven people, three of them in serious condition. The series of explosions would be the worst incident ever for the Pniowek mine, which was built in the 1960s.

Poland mainly depends on coal for electricity generation, accounting for more than 40% of its total energy consumption in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The country is the EU’s second largest coal producer behind Germany. It imported coal from Russia to meet its energy needs. Recently, however, Warsaw announced it would cut off fuel imports from Russia by May, after the EU introduced restrictions due to Moscow’s ongoing military offensive in Ukraine.


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