Three miners still trapped underground at Sibanye Stillwater mine

Saul Bowman
May 5, 2018

One of the events caused a fall of ground which trapped a total of 13 workers at level 40, which is approximately 2.6km underground... Said Peter Bailey, NUM's health and safety chairman: "We are [sic] that there was a seismic event around 1pm ..."

The Department of Mineral Resources and unions had been informed of the event Thursday and had representatives on the site assisting with the rescue efforts. But after the 3.5 event happened they rushed to withdraw the proto team from the rescue area.

"We are sitting here with a disaster in Driefontein", he said.

Another employee had been located, but two remained unaccounted for Friday morning. Four of the miners died on Friday and three are still trapped. They will be put back in soon once we have done our assessment. "While we appreciate that there was a tremor underground at Masakhane, COSATU still demands more action from government to force companies to adhere to safety regulations".

He said the rescue operation would go on through the night. "Operations at the Masakhane shaft have been suspended".

"Mine rescue teams were immediately mobilised and three employees have been located and have been interacting with the rescue teams".

In January a power outage trapped hundreds miners underground at the Beatrix operations in the Free State province, although all were safely returned to surface.

Five mineworkers were killed after the seismic events while six others have had to be hospitalised.

He said there had been two fatalities a year from 2013 to 2018 at the mine.

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