suffers second mine explosion in a week


Ten miners trapped after explosion in southern Poland, second incident in days

Contact with 10 miners has been lost at the Zofiowka coal mine in southern Poland after an explosion early Saturday morning, Polish media have reported, citing officials. There were a total of 52 workers in the area affected by the explosion, 42 of which were able to escape under their own power.

The incident was reportedly caused by the release of methane. The incident took place at a depth of about 900 meters, according to local sources. A total of 30 rescue workers in six teams were sent to the mine, explains JSW, the company that operates the facility. It is currently unclear whether there are any casualties.

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

On Thursday evening, further explosions hit the Pniowek mine, injuring 10 rescuers. Authorities withdrew response teams and temporarily sealed off the blast area to prevent further explosions.

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

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“It would be very risky and very irresponsible to send them to such a dangerous area,” said Cudny. The blast on Thursday 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 relies on coal for electricity generation, accounting for more than 40% of its total energy consumption as of 2020, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The country is the second largest coal producer in the EU after Germany. It has imported coal from Russia to meet its energy needs. However, Warsaw recently announced it would halt fuel imports from Russia in May, after the EU imposed restrictions over Moscow’s ongoing military offensive into Ukraine.

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