Half of Mines Shut Down in Kuzbass

Work at more than half the coal mines in the Kuznetsk Basin has been suspended after officials said they uncovered a series of "gross violations of industrial safety."

The Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Atomic Inspection checked 72 mines over a five-week period in the basin, primarily in the Kemerovo region. Some work has been suspended at 40 mines because of inadequate work safety, the service said. Work was completely stopped at three mines.

The service set strict timelines for mine owners and managers to remove all safety violations, the service said. There were 6,566 violations revealed in the course of 1,127 checks, resulting in fines totaling 2.5 million rubles ($107,000), the service said.

The stoppage period varies from seven to 90 days, said Yevgeny Anoshin, a spokesman for the service.

Last year, 215 people died in coal mines in the basin, also known as the Kuzbass, RIA-Novosti said Friday.