Fire kills at least 21 at ArcelorMittal mine in Kazakhstan

Fire kills at least 21 at ArcelorMittal mine in Kazakhstan


Eighteen people have sought medical help

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ALMATY (Reuters) - At least 21 people have died in a mine fire in Kazakhstan, ArcelorMittal Temirtau, the local unit of the Luxembourg-based steelmaker which operates the mine, said on Saturday.

Of the 252 people at the Kostenko mine, 208 had been evacuated, with 18 seeking medical help, the company said in a statement. Some 23 people had not been located by 12 p.m. (0600 GMT).

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who expressed condolences to victims' families, ordered his cabinet to stop investment cooperation with ArcelorMittal Temirtau.

The government said in a statement that it was finalising a deal to nationalise the company, which operates the country's biggest steel mill.

Last month First Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar told reporters that Kazakhstan was in talks with potential investors who could take over the mill.

He said the cabinet was unhappy with ArcelorMittal's failure to meet its investment obligations, upgrade equipment and ensure worker safety after a series of deadly accidents.