Nutrien has confirmed that 34 Saskatchewan mine workers have been trapped underground at their Cory potash mine, in the southwest of Saskatoon. The company stated that the workers have been stuck in the underground mine since yesterday on Tuesday afternoon. According to a report from CBC News, the employees are currently on stand-down, this means that they are not working and are waiting to be freed.
While it is a scary situation to be in, spokesperson William Tigley told CBC News the employees are all safe, comfortable and have access to enough air, water and food. Nutrien have also confirmed that they are in contact with the workers that are trapped.
Initial reports say that the employees have been trapped underground at the mine since Tuesday afternoon, when the service shaft, which moves employees and equipment up and down, stopped working. The mine is not currently in action, and was only undergoing ‘summer turnaround’ maintenance when the shaft failed.
According to Tigley, the company is currently in the process of making arrangements to rescue the workers from the mine by using the operating shaft, which usually carries the potash. Nutrien confirmed that plans are being made to bring the workers back to the surface as soon as possible.
No other details about the incident have been released by the company. It is not clear exactly how many hours the workers have been trapped, but they have already spent one night underground.
This is the second time that workers have been stuck underground at a Nutrien potash mine, after an overnight fire in May left 63 people trapped in an Allan potash mine, south of Saskatoon. Fortunately, emergency response crews were able to put the fire out quickly and all miners were rescued safely and efficiently.
According to CBC News, Nutrien potash mines do contain ‘underground shelters,’ which are stocked with food, aid and other supplies in case of unusual circumstances.