Update on Darasun Mine Tragedy

15.09.2006

Highland Gold Mining Limited (“Highland Gold”, or the “Company”) provides an update concerning the accident at its Darasun mine in Chita region (Eastern Siberia). The Board of Highland Gold expresses its condolences to all the families, friends and colleagues of the victims of the disaster. All 25 victims have now been buried and memorial services were held for them by the Company at the mine and in Moscow earlier this week. The Board also confirms that interim payments have been made to the families of all the victims and to the survivors of the accident. James Cross, Non-Executive Chairman of Highland Gold said: “This terrible tragedy has been devastating to all of us. We have been fully focused over the last week with ensuring that the fire was brought under control and that the victims and survivors and their families have received the attention and support they deserve. It is now our primary interest to get the mine up and running and the people who depend on it back to work as soon as we can.” Highland Gold confirms that operations at Darasun are being reestablished. The Central Shaft fire has now been extinguished and the full impact of the incident on the 7th September is being reviewed. The Talatui open pit resumed work on the 13th September and the mill resumed operations early on the 14th September. In this context the following can now be confirmed:

  • As soon as it is practically possible and we have safe access to the underground levels the Company will be conducting a thorough investigation to assess the damage to the Central shaft, the shaft structure, the station areas and the associated infrastructure and services e.g. pumping facilities, ventilation systems, electric power, water and compressed air reticulation. A team of specialists from management company Russdragmet and our other operations will be established to assist with the investigation and will provide full support during rehabilitation.
  • Once the assessment has been completed, the Board will decide whether to refurbish the shaft or pursue other options such as the potential upgrading, modification and refurbishment of the South West shaft or the possible deepening of the East shaft.
  • In compliance with the mining regulations and the reestablishment of a suitable ventilation network, rehabilitation and cleaning works will commence. This will encompass the reestablishment of safe travel ways for personnel from the East, number 10 and Southwest Shafts. Services including water, air and power will be reinstated.
  • As soon as the underground operation is in full compliance with the regulations, and the rehabilitation works in the South West and East shafts have been completed, underground exploration drilling sites will be developed on the 717 level in the South West Shaft and on the 646 level in the East Shaft.
  • The Board has also agreed that the management will ensure that appropriate manning levels at Darasun should be maintained in order to that the necessary refurbishment work can be undertaken.
   
For further information please contact:  
  Moscow: +7 (495) 777 5529
  E-mail: info@highlandgold.com
 

Henry Horne, Managing Director

  Dmitry Yakushkin, Director of Communications