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PotashCorp miners rescued after fire

Reuters –– The last of 96 miners trapped after a fire in PotashCorp’s biggest Saskatchewan potash mine was rescued late Thursday, after some of them had spent more than 24 hours underground.

The mine halted production when the fire started, and a spokesman for PotashCorp, the world’s second-biggest potash producer, said it would assess the situation before deciding when to resume mining.

Fire broke out around 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday in a water truck inside PotashCorp’s mine at Allan, Sask., about 50 km southeast of Saskatoon, according to Bill Johnson, the company’s spokesman.

Ninety-six workers were sent to underground refuge stations while a crew entered the mine and put out the fire.

The crew dispersed the smoke sufficiently to get nearly half the workers out of the mine late on Wednesday night. But by Thursday, 54 workers were still in refuge stations on the east side of the mine, where smoke remained hanging in the air.

Some fans were damaged in the fire, delaying smoke clearance before the rescue of the remaining miners. Late on Thursday evening, Johnson said all workers had got out of the mine.

— Reporting for Reuters by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg.

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