ESTERHAZY, Saskatchewan -- The Mosaic Company announced today that the Government of Saskatchewan's Fire Commissioner's Office and Mine Safety Unit, together with Mosaic officials, have preliminarily determined the cause of the Esterhazy mine fire to be accidental.



Based on the parties' preliminary investigation, use of a cutting torch caused a flame on the interior of polyethylene pipe, which is used in the company's underground mine operations.



The parties believe the fire at Esterhazy's K2 mine early Sunday, Jan. 29, was ignited by a cutting torch being used to remove bolts from a flange connected to the polyethylene pipe. It is believed that the interior of the polyethylene pipe started burning and created dense black smoke in a section of the K2 mine.



At the time of the fire, there were 72 mine workers underground. Of these workers, 41 were employees of Mosaic Potash Esterhazy and 31 were employees of Dynatec Corporation, a third-party contractor retained by Mosaic.



Mine rescue teams were assembled from Mosaic Potash Esterhazy, Mosaic Potash Colonsay and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan's neighboring Rocanville facility. These teams successfully extinguished the fire and facilitated the safe return of all 72 workers who were underground at the time of the fire. The last rescued worker was safely on the surface at approximately 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 30.



Mosaic's investigation of the fire is ongoing, and the Esterhazy K1 and K2 mines will resume normal operations promptly upon completion of the company's investigation.



The Mosaic Company is one of the world's leading producers and marketers of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients. For the global agriculture industry, Mosaic is a single source of phosphates, potash, nitrogen fertilizers and feed ingredients.



SOURCE: The Mosaic Company via PR Newswire.