Miners who were trapped at the Lily Gold Mine in Barberton few weeks ago, heaved a sigh of relief as the government has began to render help to their families.
Government’s intervention came after President Jacob Zuma requested Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to provide support to the families of the miners.
According to the Department of Mineral Resources, the families who were affected by the collapse of the mine’s gate have received trauma debriefing and counselling services as well as referrals to South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) for social relief of distress and food parcels for three months.
The affected families with other workers in the mine will also be receiving family therapy, family social circumstances assessment and intervention, on site social relief of distress including tents, blankets and mattresses and food, and assistance for families who are waiting for the trapped miners to be brought to the surface.
Its been 12 days now after three miners namely Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Mazibuko and Solomon Nyerende were trapped underground. The trio were working in a shipping container office when the entrance of the mine collapsed, leading to the container falling into the ground.
Rescue team suspended their operations after the second major ground collapse in the open pit area on Saturday, which widened the exposed sinkhole, sending more rocks and other debris into the underground mining area.
“Unfortunately it is simply not possible at this stage to provide any definitive time frames on when the geo-technical assessment will be finalized.
“Some of the world’s best qualified specialists in this field have been called in following [Saturday’s] collapse of ground to lead the geo-technical assessment, which needs to be comprehensive and thorough to ensure that we don’t experience any further tragedy at Lily mine by exposing the rescue teams to even greater risk in a highly unstable underground environment,” CEO of Vantage Goldfields Mike McChesney said.
Lily mine is currently closed but community members have been holding prayers at the mine with the family members of the trapped miners.
All underground searches and rescue team have been evacuated for safety sake but McChesney said operations will be continued once a full geo-technical assessment has been completed and the risk levels of underground operations have been established.