Fire doused, but 20 workers still in Potash Corp mine

Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:07pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - An early morning fire that trapped 20 workers underground in a mine owned by Potash Corp of Saskatchewan on Tuesday has been extinguished with no injuries, the company said.

The fire at the Rocanville, Saskatchewan, mine was reported while 29 workers were underground, but nine were rescued by late morning, said spokesman Bill Johnson.

The remaining 20 workers were at underground rescue stations and in contact with company officials as rescue operations continued, Johnson said.

"They're all safe. They appear to be just fine," he said.

The affected area of the mine remains hot and will be ventilated before rescuers can move the remaining workers to the surface.

The Rocanville mine, which has annual operational capacity of 2.7 million tonnes, is one of six potash mines owned by Potash Corp, the world's biggest producer of the crop nutrient.

Johnson said he didn't have details about damage to the mine or how long it might be out of production.

Potash Corp shares were down by about 1 percent in New York and 0.7 percent in Toronto in afternoon trading.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Sofina Mirza-Reid)