Rescue operations were called off on Saturday.

(Press Release) ANTWERP, BELGIUM – The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has praised the efforts undertaken by Russia's Alrosa to rescue eight miners trapped underground for the past three weeks following the firm's decision on Saturday to end rescue operations.

Water rushing into the area poses too great a threat to teams who have been working around the clock since the disaster struck on Aug. 4.

"Firstly, our hearts and prayers are with the families of the miners who have been hoping against hope since this catastrophe happened," said WFDB President Ernie Blom. "This is an extraordinarily difficult time for them and they must be treated with the utmost consideration. ALROSA and other authorities are moving quickly and with a minimum of bureaucracy.

"On behalf of WFDB members around the world, I would also like to praise the speedy response by ALROSA which allowed 143 miners to be rescued quickly, and the way in which it rapidly put the rescue operation into place.

Rescuers worked around the clock for more than three weeks facing incredible dangers and operating in conditions that are impossible for most of us to grasp. Unfortunately, a point was reached where it is simply not possible to continue. With great sadness, we must accept that the trapped miners are unlikely to still be alive without food and water, in appallingly high levels of humidity and with a high content of hydrogen sulfide and salts in the mudflow.

"We bow our heads to the memory of the miners, but we also need to be proud of the rescue efforts and the way the worldwide industry has come together to show its concern for the men. Beyond this, we must emphasize the fact that such tragedies are an extremely rare occurrence in diamond mining. This is because diamond mining firms have extremely stringent safety procedures in place which give paramount importance to the personal safety of employees. This is not a given, as can be seen from the tragedies that take place in other mining industries, but is another example of the way the diamond industry is a well-regulated business."

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