Workers rescued after New Zealand mine fire
- 17 July 2012
- From the section Asia
Workers trapped underground in a New Zealand gold mine have been rescued, seven hours after a truck engine caught fire.
All 28 miners were ''accounted for and well'', a spokesman for Newmont Waihi Gold, which operates the Trio mine on the North Island, told reporters.
They were 150m (500ft) underground when the fire broke out early on Tuesday, reports said
One man was being examined by medical officials for smoke inhalation.
The rest of the men were fine and ''raring to go home and have a sleep'', said the spokesman, Kit Wilson.
They had been working for eight hours of a 10-hour overnight shift when the fire broke out.
After five hours 13 of the men, who took refuge in two safety chambers, got out. The rest were rescued from a third safety chamber two hours later, just before noon in New Zealand.
It was not clear what started the fire, Mr Wilson said.
''The Trio mine is a hardrock gold mine and there is no risk of a mine explosion,'' the company said in a statement , adding an investigation would be carried out.
Newmont Waihi Gold is owned by Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corporation, a leading global producer of gold, according to its website.
In November 2010, an explosion at the Pike River mine on the South Island killed 29 people. A public hearing into the case concluded in April, with a final report due by the end of September.
It was New Zealand's worst mining disaster in almost a century.
Pike River Coal Ltd went into receivership after the incident. Its sale to state-owned New Zealand coal miner Solid Energy for $7.5m (£4.78m) has just been completed .
Solid Energy "has assumed control of the Pike River facilities", the company said in a statement.