Dam collapse kills at least 15 gold miners in Siberia

The heavy rain caused an erosion of the dam. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 October 2019

Dam collapse kills at least 15 gold miners in Siberia

  • More than a dozen gold miners are still missing
  • Heavy rains caused erosion of the dam

MOSCOW: At least 15 gold miners were killed on Saturday when a dam collapsed, flooding an artisanal mining encampment in a remote part of Siberia, officials said.
Heavy rains had weakened the dam and water broke through, sweeping away several cabins where the artisan miners lived, about 160 km (100 miles) south of the city of Krasnoyarsk.
President Vladimir Putin ordered all necessary measures to be taken to help those affected, to identify the cause of the disaster and prevent any impact on a nearby residential area, Interfax quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.
Russia is one of the world’s top gold producers with most of its output coming from large professional industrial mines. However, alluvial production, which is usually operated by small firms, still contributes some of the country’s gold.
Alluvial or artisanal gold mining in Russia is usually small-scale, but is still conducted by officially registered firms which are supposed to abide by health and safety rules.
Krasnoyarsk officials said in a statement that water released by the dam partially flooded two dormitories of the rotational camp in which 74 people lived, adding that 13 people were still missing.
A Russian investigative committee said it had launched a criminal probe into violation of safety rules at the gold mining spot, while local authorities said the collapsed dam was not registered by official bodies.
Interfax said the miners were part of Siberian privately-held Sibzoloto, which unites several artisanal mining teams.
Sibzoloto was not immediately available for comment.
Sibzoloto produced about 3 tons of gold in 2018, Sergei Kashuba, the head of Russia’s Gold Industrialists’ Union, a non-government producers’ lobby group, told Reuters. Sibzoloto is not a member of the union, he added. Russia produced 314 tons of gold in 2018.


France backs calls for EU sanctions on Turkey

Updated 38 min 30 sec ago

France backs calls for EU sanctions on Turkey

  • Cypriot officials insist the EU shouldn’t set a ‘double standard’ by imposing sanctions against Belarus for alleged voter fraud while avoiding doing so when Turkey carries on its exploration at the expense of EU members

JEDDAH: France on Friday backed Cyprus’ calls for the EU to consider imposing tougher sanctions on Turkey if the Turkish government won’t suspend its search for energy reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters where Cyprus and Greece claim exclusive economic rights.

French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune said sanctions should be among the options the 27-member bloc considers employing if Turkey continues to “endanger the security and sovereignty of a member state.”

“But we consider that the union should also be ready to use all the instruments at its disposal, among them one of sanctions, if the situation didn’t evolve positively,” Beaune said after talks with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia.

A European Parliament resolution has called for sanctions against Turkey unless it showed “sincere cooperation and concrete progress” in defusing tensions with Greece and Cyprus.

Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Turkey and now analyst at Carnegie Europe, said the resolution reflected the views of a democratically elected parliament from across the bloc. “This is not ‘country X against country Y,’ it is the aggregated view of the European Parliament,” he told Arab News.

EU leaders are set to hold a summit in a few days to discuss how to respond to Turkey prospecting in areas of the sea that Greece and Cyprus insist are only theirs to explore.

Turkey triggered a naval stand-off with NATO ally Greece after dispatching a warship-escorted research vessel in a part of the eastern Mediterranean that Greece says is over its continental shelf. Greece deployed its own warship and naval patrols in response.

Greek and Turkish military officers are also holding talks at NATO headquarters to work out ways of ensuring that any standoff at sea doesn’t descend into open conflict.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Turkey’s withdrawal of its survey ship and warship escorts was a positive step, but that Greece needs to make sure Ankara is sincere.

He said a list of sanctions will be put before EU leaders at next week’s summit and whether they’ll be implemented will depend on Turkey’s actions. “I’m hoping that it won’t become necessary to reach that point,” Dendias said.

Cypriot officials insist the EU shouldn’t set a “double standard” by imposing sanctions against Belarus for alleged voter fraud and police brutality while avoiding doing so when Turkey carries on its exploration at the expense of EU members.

Meanwhile, the EU is set to announce sanctions on Monday against three companies from Turkey, Jordan and Kazakhstan which are accused of violating a UN arms embargo on Libya, diplomats told AFP.