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Inferno Engulfs Rössing Uranium Mine

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    Inferno engulfs Rössing Uranium Mine

    February 13th, 2015 | by New Era Staff Reporter
    By Eveline de Klerk


    WALVIS BAY – Rio Tinto Rössing uranium mine was dealt a heavy blow yesterday at around lunchtime when a massive fire broke out at the mine.

    The fire started at the final product recovery (FPR) plant of the mine, where uranium oxide is packed for export.
    Although the fire was contained about two hours later, fears of a possible radiation leak and or radiation exposure was a huge concern among some employees, especially those directly employed at FPR.

    Some employees of the mine yesterday said they were worried about radiation leakage although the mine’s emergency service responded quickly and evacuated all workers to designated assembly points on time.

    “The fire happened very quickly and spread rapidly within the recovery plant and our guys had to call the fire brigades from Swakopmund and Arandis to assist. Our only worry now is the possibility of a radiation leakage as this is the final plant where we pack uranium,” one miner said.

    When asked about the cause of the fire and the possibility of a radiation leakage, the public relations officer of the mine, Botha Ellis, said the mine’s management was assessing and monitoring the situation.

    “We are aware of such a possibility, but it is too early to comment as we are currently busy with assessing and investigating what could have caused the fire. Also, as all emergency teams are not yet back we want to make sure the fire does not start again and we also need their reports for our investigation,” Ellis explained.

    In a statement issued yesterday afternoon the mine indicated its emergency teams responded to bring the situation under control and all the affected employees were evacuated while the fire was extinguished by fire-fighters.
    “As a precautionary, the fire brigades of Swakopmund and Arandis were alerted to render support if necessary.

    There were no injuries to employees. The origin and cause of the fire and possible damage to equipment or the FPR building are currently being assessed. Mining operations in areas not affected by the incident continue as normal,” the statement further read.


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