Monday 21 October 2019

Flooding kills at least fifteen folllowing dam failure at Russian gold mine.

Fifteen people have died and five more are still missing following the collapse of a series of dams at a gold mine in Krasnoyarsk Krai on Saturday 19 October 2019. The dam had apparently been built across the Seiba River, which produces alluvial gold (gold which is present in a rock formation at a very low level, but which is eroded out of the rock by the action of water, and then concentrated in certain places by the action of the water). Such dams can either form a body of more-or-less still water on a fast moving watercourse, causing it to drop its sediment load, in this case including gold, or simply allow miners access to areas when gold rich sediments would normally be covered by water. The flood is reported to have swept away a number of housing blocks being used by workers at the mine, leading to the fatalities.

Flooding at an alluvial gold mine in Krasnoyarsk Krai, following a dam collapse on 19 October 2019. Russian Emergencies Ministry/TASS.

Following the collapse an investigation by Russian federal authorities has established that the mines owners did not have permission to dam the river, and that the mine's overseer did not hold a relevant mining qualification. The chief executive officer of the mining company Sisim has been arrested following the incident, as has a senior manager at the company, and the site overseer. 

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