Taizhina accident: prosecutors to give legal assessment

The prosecutor's office of the Kemerovo region (Russia's main coal mining region in the south of Western Siberia, also referred to as the Kuznetsk coal basin) is establishing the responsibility of local officials for the accident in the Taizhina mine in Osinniki.

The prosecutor's office will conclude on whether the officials were responsible or not for the death of 47 miners in the Taizhina mine on April 10, 2004, regardless of the results of the probe conducted by the state commission, chief spokesman for the regional prosecutor's office Alexei Bugayets said on Wednesday.

According to Mr. Bugayets, a set of issues has been lately determined to find out whether security regulations were observed during the mine works and whether there were any violations on behalf of the company's administration. It is being checked whether the measuring equipment functioned well and how the concentration of methane was controlled in the air. It is being established why the rock collapsed and what caused the explosion, and many other aspects, said the spokesman.

Independent experts, who did not work in the state commission, have been involved in the prosecutor's investigation, he remarked.

The chief spokesman also said that six expertises had been arranged and that officials of the enterprise responsible for miners' security were being interrogated.

According to Mr. Bugayets, the investigation has considered the results of the investigation conducted by the state commission, but the final results will only be based on the analysis of all the obtained evidence.

According to the state commission, the accident in the Taizhina mine was caused by the "natural factor." According to the chairman of the state commission, head of the Federal Energy Agency Sergei Oganesyan, "the movement of the lava caused the collapse of the rock in the processed part of the lava in the conveyor tunnel. At the same time, a methane emission took place followed by a methane explosion as a result of a short circuit caused by the damage of high-voltage cables.

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