Ciner miners return to work

Elevated levels of methane gas were the cause of a mine evacuation at Ciner Saturday morning.

According to a press release from Ciner, monitors detected elevated methane levels early Saturday morning. The levels were high enough to trigger an evacuation of the mine.

“We evacuated all personnel from the mine and turned off the power,” a release from Ciner states.

The release stated surface operations continued to function by utilizing ore from the mine’s stockpile.

However, on Tuesday miners returned underground to resume normal mining operations, Craig Rood, Ciner’s site manager, said Wednesday morning,

The trona mines in Southwestern Wyoming are considered “gassy mines,” according to Rood. Above and below the trona bed are oil shales which contain naturally-occurring methane gases. Rood said the methane is released as part of the mining process.

“Thankfully, all our employees are safe. We are working closely with MSHA until the methane has dissipated back to normal levels and we can safely return our employees back into the mine,” the Ciner release states.

Rood declined to answer if the nearby earthquake Friday resulted in the elevated methane levels within the mine, saying he could not speculate on what caused the methane increase.

Rood said the mine has 150 employees, with a total of 430 total workers on site.


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