South Africa gold mine: About 950 workers trapped underground

02 February, 2018, 00:55 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Over 1000 miners trapped underground in South Africa

"Last night there was a severe storm in the Free State that affected two different power cables. and cut off all electricity supply to the mine, so we were unable to bring the night shift up".

Around 940 gold miners are trapped underground in South Africa after a power failure.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union [ACMU] president Joseph Mathunjwa said mine management should "mobilise all resources" to rescue the workers.

"We are trying to restore power so we can start hoisting them to the surface", he said, speaking on the phone from the mine.

Nine-hundred mineworkers are still trapped underground Sibanye-Stillwater's Beatrix Mine in the Free State.

Wellsted said that it was uncertain how deep the miners are trapped, but it's being reported that the mine has 23 levels, going down to about 1,000 meters.

For now, all of the employees have been accounted for and are safe says Sibanye-Stillwater spokesperson James Wellsted.

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There was no immediate timeline of when the workers would be returned to surface, he said.

"It is also quite common for adults to be on chronic medication, and it is highly probable that there are some workers who are trapped without access to their medicine".

The mine's owners on Friday morning said power was being restored to the site, but there was not yet enough to bring the miners to the surface.

"Mining is very unsafe, and mineworkers risk life and limb daily to put bread on the table for their families".

South Africa is a leading gold producer, but the industry has often been accused of a poor safety record.

South Africa possesses rich mineral reserves and has some of the world's deepest gold mines, but production has declined sharply in recent years due to depletion of reserves.

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