In a tragic incident, a mine fire in Kazakhstan has claimed the lives of at least 21 people. The Kostenko mine, operated by ArcelorMittal Temirtau, witnessed this devastating event. Out of the 252 individuals present in the mine at the time, 208 have been successfully evacuated. However, 23 people remain unaccounted for as of 12 p.m. (0600 GMT), and 18 have sought medical assistance.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and took decisive action. He ordered his cabinet to cease investment cooperation with ArcelorMittal Temirtau, signaling a significant shift in the government’s approach.
The government has also announced its intention to nationalize ArcelorMittal Temirtau, the local unit of the Luxembourg-based steelmaking giant, responsible for operating Kazakhstan’s largest steel mill. The decision comes after a series of concerns related to the company’s failure to meet investment obligations, upgrade equipment, and ensure the safety of its workers, particularly following several deadly accidents.
First Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar previously disclosed that Kazakhstan had been engaged in discussions with potential investors to potentially take over the steel mill. However, these conversations now appear to have reached a critical juncture with the government’s decision to move towards nationalization.
The tragic mine fire incident has not only cost the lives of many but also prompted a reevaluation of the country’s industrial safety standards and corporate responsibilities. As the government takes steps to nationalize the steel mill, it is likely to bring about significant changes in the management and oversight of such critical industrial operations. The full extent of this tragic incident’s impact on ArcelorMittal Temirtau and the steel industry in Kazakhstan will become clearer as the situation unfolds.