At least 7 people died from carbon dioxide poisoning in a former tungsten mine in the Siberian region of Buryatia, Russian news agencies reported Monday.
Yevgeny Anoshin, spokesman for Rostekhnadzor, an agency that oversees mine safety, told ITAR-Tass that a group of miners had burned automobile tires on Friday deep in the closed mine to melt the extracted tungsten, a heat-resistant metal used to make light bulbs.
Since the mine lacked a ventilation system, the extremely high concentration of carbon dioxide became lethal, Anoshin said. Seven other miners were saved by rescue workers, ITAR-Tass reported.
The mine, located seven kilometers from the town of Zakamensk, was closed in 1996, but several residents continued to descend into the pit to extract tungsten.
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