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Accident shuts 2nd Evraz coal mine in Russia

MOSCOW, March 28 (Reuters) - A fire has halted production in a coal mine belonging to Evraz, Russia’s largest steelmaker, the Russian Emergency Ministry said on Thursday, a day after four miners were lost due to flooding in another Evraz mine.

A conveyor belt caught fire early on Thursday, leading to a complete production shutdown and the evacuation of 530 miners from the Alardinskaya mine in Siberia’s coal-rich Kemerovo region.

The mine, which produced 562,000 tonnes of coal in the first two months of 2013, will use its reserves to compensate for the halt in production, Evraz said.

“Evraz steel mills are the main consumers of Alardinskaya’s coal. The mine has sufficient reserves. During the outage, coal shipments will come from the warehouses,” the company said in a statement.

Although mine safety has improved since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, fatal accidents are frequent in Russia’s ageing pits.

An investigation has been launched after a 48-year-old miner died on Wednesday when Evraz’s Osinnikovskaya coal mine flooded, according to regional authorities, who said searches were continuing for three other miners still unaccounted for.

Shares in London-listed Evraz were down 0.3 percent at 1038 GMT.

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