Mpumalanga Mine: 87 Workers Rescued; 3 Still Missing


Days after the gold mine operated by Sydney-based Vantage Goldfields collapsed in Mpumalanga trapping about 100 workers, report has it that a total number of 87 people have been successfully rescued.

Speaking to the press, the owner of the gold mine said the workers were trapped in the mine after a building collapsed blocking the entrance of the mine. Three people are yet to be found he said. The three missing people were said to be in the lamp room near the surface of the mine, at the time of the incident,

The 87 rescued workers were on the other hand, said to be working on the surface when the disaster happened on Friday morning. The company further said that these rescued workers are alive and safe and that rescuers were continuing efforts to retrieve the remaining people.

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The incident which occurred at the Makonjwaan Gold Mine, also known as the Lily Mine, some 360 kilometers from Johannesburg Friday, was described as “massive” as about 450m part of the mine collapsed.

“It was a massive cave-in…three levels of the underground mine, which is about 450m deep collapsed” Hi-Tech Medical Service spokesman Jacques Ainslie said.

The disaster was said to have followed the death of four Impala Platinum mine workers who were consumed by fumes on January 22 2015, after a fire broke out at Impala’s number 12 shaft in Rustenburg, west of Johannesburg. The workers met with their death while they were trying to find their way to safety.

Meanwhile, the minister for mineral resources Mosebenzi Zwane, has earlier this year, raised alarm on the sudden rise of risks associated with mining jobs in the country.

Speaking at a media briefing, the minister said the number of mining jobs at risk has climbed to 32,000 from a previous estimate of 23,000.

In the same meeting, the department’s mine health and safety division reported that as a result of improvements in the gold and coal mines, the number of people killed on South African mines fell to a record low of 77 last year from 84 in 2014.

The record also had it that the number of injuries on mines last year rose 12% to 3,200 while the incidence of certain diseases, such as silicosis, silico-tuberculosis and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis decreased, although there was a 50% rise in the number of asbestosis cases.

Mr. Zwane believed the trends were moving in the right direction towards the goal of zero harm. However, that he would make sure that the section 54 stoppages under the Mine Health and Safety Act would be strictly melted out on defaulting companies.

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