"Anything that has been reported is speculative," Whitmore said. "We don't know what the cause is."

Star Mine Operations, LLC, the owner of the mine, couldn't immediately be reached for comment, but Whitmore said the company has accounted for all workers at the site. She said 20 people were taken to area hospitals, and all but two have been treated and released. The conditions of the two hospitalized workers haven't been released.

Rory Williams, project manager for Star Mine Operations, told the Ouray Watch the accident apparently was a "powder-smoke incident," and that the release of chemicals in the smoke injured the miners. The US Mine Safety and Health Administration is at the accident site.


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