Men escape smoke-filled gold mine in Sodankylä
Seven miners took shelter in security container and later drove away in van
Seven mine workers faced a hazardous situation in a gold mine in Sodankylä in Finnish Lapland on Thursday evening. A fire was reported at the Pahtavaara mine at about 5:00 PM Thursday, filling the shafts with smoke.
There were ten men in the mine when the fire broke out. Three of them managed to escape immediately, while the rest, who were at a deeper level in the mine, sought refuge in a safety container, from where the telephoned the surface.
The containers are located about two kilometres from the opening. They contain drinking water and tanks of compressed air.
The men waited inside the container for more than an hour for the smoke to clear, after which they drove out of the mine in a van. There were no injuries.
There was no immediate indication of what caused the fire, or what the material damage might be.
“We suspect that an electric cabinet of some kind might be burning there”, Virkkunen said. The exact location of the fire was not known on Thursday night.
The Pahtavaara gold deposit was discovered in 1985. The mining operation began under a Swedish owner in 1996, and stopped in 2000, when the price of gold had fallen. It was re-opened in 2003.
The mine was bought by its current owner, the Swedish company Lapland Goldminers in 2008.
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Lappland Goldminers - Pahtavaara mine