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ASTANA. KAZINFORM – On August 17, a conveyor belt caught fire in the working of the D6 coal slope at the Kazakhstanskaya mine. There were 227 miners in the mine. 222 workers were brought to the surface. The bodies of three dead have been found, and the search for the two miners is still ongoing. It turned out that over 100 people died at ArcelorMittal Termirtau facilities over 15 years. We decided to find out the reasons for systematic accidents from the ex-director of the Kazakhstanskaya mine, now a deputy of the Mazhilis, Arman Kalykov, who is now at the site of the tragedy.

– Tell us about the situation, what measures are being taken now?

– I visited the operational headquarters, then met with the family of the deceased. He got acquainted with the course of conducting rescue operations, extinguishing a fire. All, of course, painfully familiar. These accidents occur one after another endlessly. Each is a pain in the heart for a miner. With many familiar. I personally knew two of the victims. I worked there as chief engineer, deputy director, director of the mine. While I am here in the region. In principle, I was in the region, but far from the mine. The fire is under control now. Two people were not found. Young guys born in 1994, 1996. Now the situation is such that it is difficult to comment on something. The headquarters is working. I got to know the progress of the case.

Today, unfortunately, I managed to meet only one family. Expressed condolences. They are also indignant: why did the tape catch fire, why is there a series of deaths? They don’t blame anyone. While questions were asked and all. As a standard, the company provides assistance in accordance with the collective agreement: the families of the victims will be paid 10 annual earnings. Housing will be purchased. All support measures are listed there. I said that the state commission is working. In my opinion, this is all due to underfunding by the shareholder. The company (ArcelorMittal Temirtau) saves money on creating safe conditions and staffing. There is a big problem – not enough numbers. The last two years, by joint efforts, convinced the shareholders – they began to accept people. The company accepted about 2.5 thousand people. Reception has been suspended for the time being. They explain this by the fact that the cost is very high. So there are standard costs. Therefore, the recruitment of staff is now suspended.

– What is the main cause of the accident at the mine “Kazakhstanskaya”?

– I can’t say, because the state commission is working. When the cause of the fire is clearly established, then it will be possible to draw some conclusions. Until the fire is extinguished. People have not yet been found, two people are being searched. I can’t draw any conclusions right now.

– The accident at the mine is not the first time. What is it connected with?

– All mines were acquired in technical, technological terms in normal working condition. But it was a resource created not by them, not by this company. This resource, which was created in Soviet times, is now over. This is the general depreciation of fixed production assets, buildings, structures, a systematic shortage of personnel, and a lack of modernization. We all worked on the old technology. New technologies have not been introduced in 27 years of the company’s operation.

– Earlier at the President’s reception, ATM Executive Director Lakshmi Mittal promised to ensure that the miners’ work is organized to the highest standards in the field of labor safety and health protection. What do you think about it?

“They promise but do nothing, and here are the consequences. When a major accident occurs, the state commission works. After that, measures are drawn up: what needs to be done so that these cases do not happen again. Everything is clearly signed, signed and not executed. Because all management decisions and implementation of activities entail funding. Nothing is done for free. All for money.

 

– You spoke about the wear and tear of equipment, underfunding. That is, the cause of the accident lies in this?

– Well, of course. I don’t see another. We still have the same level as in the Soviet Union: technologies, buildings, structures. There is nothing new in the mines. Separate equipment is bought, but work is not carried out in the complex. Some injections are being made, but there is no systematic, comprehensive work. All decisions, including financial ones, are made by expat leaders. Local leaders do not have the right to make decisions on financing, hiring people. The director of the mine nominally has the rights as the head of the site. It’s a mine, not a pasta factory. Something can change every minute. All these actions must be promptly responded to. But we can’t respond because there is no stock. Don’t let it be created. There are safety rules, where it is clearly written: there must be a three-day supply of materials on the site. The mine must have a 10-day supply of materials. On a conveyor belt, according to safety regulations, 10 people should work, and 5 are served. Does this improve safety? Of course not. It turns out that 1 person can go to work and serve 500 meters of a conveyor belt. This applies not only to the conveyor, but also to other equipment.

– Has the company’s safety equipment been checked?

– There is a moratorium on checking private businesses. Only with the permission of the prosecutor can be checked. The inspector cannot promptly arrive at any time and check. To do this, you need to get permission from the prosecutor. Safety precautions are checked every time. But there is such a thing as moments of hiding minor violations …

– What measures are the deputies planning to take?

– It is necessary to review the status of state inspectors in all areas so that they have all the necessary powers. This will give increased control by the state. In the labor law there is no such thing as a headcount standard. It must be tied to the existing number of equipment and the range of equipment. Everything should be clear: the conveyor is of such a brand, it should be served by so many people. It needs to be spelled out clearly. The concept of a population standard should be rigid.

– You have worked for this company for a long time. How was the security then?

– I thought when you ask me this question. Yes, I worked. I don’t refuse. But he always defended his position and proved: it should be so. When I worked as a mine director, I had powers. I could lead as a single boss. When he became the director of a coal enterprise, the concept blurred. All leaders were at the same level. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. You can take the statistics for the time that I was the director of the mines “Kazakhstan” and the name of Lenin. They worked, there were violations and sudden emissions. I worked according to the safety rules.

– After the accident at the Kazakhstanskaya mine, deputies of the Mazhilis, members of the AMANAT party demanded that the management of JSC ArcelorMittal Temirtau be held criminally liable. Do you support the appeal of the deputies who call on the company to leave the country?

– Certainly. They only promise. But how much can you? Sorry, every year five, six people (die). They promised $3 billion in investment. In fact, there was nothing. It was two years ago. They promised to build a large metallurgical plant that would produce 6 million tons of steel. But in fact there is nothing.

Recall that on August 17, in the development of the coal slope D6 (horizon – 170 m), a conveyor belt caught fire. Then there were 227 people in the mine, people were taken out through the flank shaft from the mine to the surface.

An accident elimination plan was immediately put in place. By 14:00, 222 workers were brought to the surface. There were five people left in the mine.

In the evening, the body of one miner was raised to the surface. His identity has been established. The next day, the body of another miner was found at the Kazakhstan mine.

Also on August 18, the body of a third miner was found.

The fate of the two miners is still unknown. The search is being conducted by employees of the RTSSH PVASS and the Department of Emergency Situations. The cause of the fire will be investigated.

There are 11 workers in medical institutions, of which 9 people are in Karaganda, and two people are in Shakhtinsk.

A criminal case has been initiated on the fact of a fire at a coal mine – a pre-trial investigation has been launched under article 277 of part 3 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The case is under the control of the prosecutor’s office of the Karaganda region. Those responsible for the mine accident could face up to 7 years in prison.

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Alikhan Smailov, demanded that the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Ecology promptly complete the industrial and environmental audits conducted at ArcelorMittal Temirtau JSC in order to make an appropriate decision.

Murat Mashkenov, Secretary General of the Kazakhstan Confederation of Labor, commenting on the accident at the Kazakhstanskaya mine, said that after the investigation of the incident was completed, a decision should be made in favor of a complete revision of the agreements between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Arcelor Mittal, up to and including breaking off relations.

On August 19, Alikhan Smailov arrived in the Karaganda region. He met with family members of the miners who died in the accident at the Kazakhstan mine and said that all those responsible would be punished.