BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Scotland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
Mine flood report rules out sabotage
Longannet sign
Millions of gallons of water flooded the mine
Sabotage has been ruled out as a cause of the flooding which led to the closure of Scotland's last deep coal mine.

A report by the Health and Safety Executive's Mines Inspectorate said the incident at Longannet could not have been predicted.

Energy Minister Brian Wilson said the government's 41m investment in the mine was on the verge of being rewarded when the flooding struck.


I deplore the campaign of scurrilous innuendo, unsupported by a shred of evidence, which has emanated from certain quarters since the flood occurred

Energy Minister Brian Wilson
"Longannet was lost as a result of flooding which could not have been anticipated and for which nobody should be held responsible," he said.

"I deplore the campaign of scurrilous innuendo, unsupported by a shred of evidence, which has emanated from certain quarters since the flood occurred.

"I hope that those responsible will now accept the Mines Inspectorate report and stop trying to exploit the misfortune of those involved."

The mine was shut after tunnels 250m below the surface were flooded in March.

Owner Scottish Coal (Deep Mine) was placed into liquidation and 330 jobs were lost when it was decided that it would not be economically viable to reopen the colliery.

Investigation launched

Some former employees raised questions about the source of the flooding, including allegations that sabotage may have been responsible.

An investigation was launched by the HSE within days of the incident.

A spokesman said that mine records were examined and 30 people were interviewed as part of this process.

"The inspectorate looked at the possibility of sabotage as a cause," said the HSE spokesman.

Longannet
The mine was closed earlier this year
"The report rules this out, as the rate of flooding was much higher than would have been possible due to sabotage."

The report said that the flooding struck tunnels in the Castlehill Pit Bottom area of the mine.

The 15 people below ground at the time were three miles away in another part of the mine and were quickly evacuated.

An estimated 3.6m gallons flowed into the mine in the first 20 minutes at an average rate of 175,000 gallons per minute, blocking the ventilation circuit.

In two-and-a-half hours about 17m gallons of water had flooded into the mine.

No firm conclusions

The report said it was not possible to draw any firm conclusions about how the flooding occurred.

However, a failure in the area of the Castlehill/Solsgirth dam caused by water pressure is thought to be the most likely cause.

The report also concludes that none of the possible causes of the flooding could have been foreseen.

Mining (Scotland) Limited, the parent company of the Scottish Coal (Deep Mine), welcomed the findings.

"The conclusion that the dams were designed and constructed to standards well in excess of those required, and that interference with the structures as a cause of the flooding could be ruled out, confirmed the company's own conclusions based on regular inspections," said a spokesman

See also:

16 Jul 02 | Scotland
14 May 02 | Scotland
19 Apr 02 | Scotland
29 Mar 02 | Scotland
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes