Employees became trapped underground Tuesday afternoon when the service shaft, which moves employees and equipment up and down, stopped working. The workers were a kilometer underground during the ordeal. An additional elevator was installed to bring them above ground. The last group of employees were brought to the surface at around 6:15 p.m. CT. “We are happy to confirm that we have all of our 34 people above ground,” Will Tigley, a spokesman with Nutrien Ltd., said, No injuries were reported. The workers had air, food, water, power, Wi-Fi and contact with the company and their families.
The mine is not currently producing potash and was undergoing maintenance when the shaft failure occurred. Nutrien will now conduct an internal investigation to determine why the shaft stopped working, a mechanical problem. In May, dozens of Nutrien workers were trapped for several hours at its Allan potash mine after a fire broke out before they were safely brought to the surface. Nutrien is the largest producer of potash, and the second largest producer of nitrogen fertilizer, in the world.