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Kemerovo region governor Aman Tuleyev called for a large-scale state support of mining sector upgrades
Tuleyev called for reducing the mining tax, subsiding interest rates on loans, and contribution to increased coal consumption in power generation. "It will be very useful if the state takes part in the construction of transport infrastructure, including ports and railways," the governor said in an interview with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper on Thursday. "Our coalmines have a severe technological lag compared with their foreign analogs. At present, depreciation of fixed capital stock at certain mines in the Kuzbass coal-mining district reaches 80 percent. Hence the serious lag /compared with foreign states - eds Itar-Tass/ in safety," the regional leader said. Violation of safety rules, smoking and drug abuse play not the least role in tragedies in the mining sector. In the governor's new, it is time to start training people to be on constant alert for possible risks. Also on Thursday, Tuleyev awarded money prizes to the rescuers who took part in the relief efforts at the Yubileinaya mine on May 24. "Thanks to their resolute actions, it was possible to achieve the main thing - bring people to the surface, prevent recurrent explosions, avoid new fatalities and save the mine from destruction, thus keeping jobs," the governor said. A state commission is continuing the investigation into the cause of the fatal accident. Experts completed the questioning of 68 witnesses. One of the most probable versions is that a rockfall during tunneling squeezed methane into a emergency stretch of the mine. On Monday, the commission announced preliminary conclusions. "An overstretched power cable in the emergency tunnel, was pulled out of the plug and short circuited on the body of the tunneling machine, and the resultant spark triggered an explosion." A methane explosion at the Yubileinaya mine last Thursday killed 38 people. A total of 217 miners were underground at the moment of the accident. One hundred and seventy-nine workers were safely brought to the surface. Of the 39 miners in the epicenter of the explosion, just one survived. It was the third accident at Yubileinaya and second at Yuzhkuzbassugol companies since the beginning of this year. On March 19, 110 miners were killed in a methane explosions at the Ulyanovskaya mine, in the largest coalmine accident in the region in the past 60 years. According to Rostekhnadzor's probe, it was caused by unsanctioned interference in the electronic safety system. Tuleyev said the system had been tampered with intentionally, in order to boost coal production. More than 200 people have died at Yuzhkuzbassugol mines since the autumn of 1999. Kemerovo legislators on Wednesday approved a bill toughening the responsibility for violations of safety rules in the mining sector. Following the latest methane explosion, inspectors from the regional department of the Rostekhnadzor Federal Service for Supervision of Environment, Technology and Nuclear Management suspended 14 breakage- and 39 development faces after checking 58 coal mines in the province.
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