Alrosa has called off a search for eight workers at its Mir deposit in Yakutia, three weeks after the underground portion of the mine flooded.
The danger of a sudden rush of water into the mine shaft makes the rescue operation impossible, the Russian miner said in a statement Saturday.
The workers could not have survived for three weeks without water and food in conditions of high humidity, Alrosa said, citing medical experts. The mud that flowed into the mine — with a high content of hydrogen sulfide and salts — further damaged their chances of survival.
Rescue workers began to search for the eight miners after Mir’s underground section flooded on August 4, when water seeped in from an open-pit mine above it. The operation took place 24 hours a day in three shifts.
“It is with a heavy heart that I am forced to announce that there is no more hope that we can find the missing miners alive and bring them to the surface,” said Alrosa president Sergey Ivanov.
“As the head of the company, I guarantee that the miners’ families will receive the necessary support and financial aid — [in a] timely [manner] and in full,” he added.
The rough producer will pay the missing miners’ relatives about $34,000 (RUB 2 million) in compensation, it said.
Despite the flood, Alrosa expects to reach its production goal of 39 million carats for 2017. The company plans to increase production at its other mines to compensate for the decline in output from Mir, which yielded around 2 million carats in the first half of the year — 11% of its total output.