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34 workers trapped underground at Saskatchewan potash mine

 Nutrien Ltd.’s Cory mine west of Saskatoon.
Nutrien Ltd.'s Cory mine west of Saskatoon. - Postmedia

Nearly three dozen workers have spent almost a full day underground at Nutrien’s Cory potash mine west of Saskatoon, after the facility’s service shaft abruptly stopped working.

Nutrien spokesman Will Tigley on Wednesday morning said the 34 maintenance workers were safe and have access to food, water and wifi. It was not immediately clear when the shaft elevator would be repaired.

“There are no injuries whatsoever, and we’re thankful for that,” Tigley said.

United Steelworkers staff representative Darrin Kruger said the union, which represents most of the province’s potash miners, is thankful that efforts were underway to get the trapped workers back to the surface. The prospect of being stuck underground for an extended period of time is something potash miners face each time they strap on their equipment and go to work, he added.

“These are the realities that we face every day,” Kruger said.

The problems began Tuesday afternoon when the mine’s service shaft “temporarily stopped operating,” he said. The facility’s production shaft is currently shut down, with the mine in the midst of a planned production halt.

Saskatchewan law requires every mining company to ensure workers trained in mine rescue procedures are “readily available.” Tigley on Wednesday said there were emergency response workers currently underground. He said they are available should one of the workers suffer a medical emergency. The facility has processes in place to deliver supplies such as prescription medication if need be, Tigley said.

The Cory mine is approximately 10 kilometres west of Saskatoon, just off Highway 7. Nutrien owns six mines in the province.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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