Rescue operations continue as trapped mine workers remain underground

2017-08-25 19:43
Kusasalethu mine in Carletonville. (Supplied)

Kusasalethu mine in Carletonville. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg – One of five miners trapped 3.1km below ground in the Kusasalethu mine in Carletonville, last communicated with rescue teams on Friday afternoon, a spokesperson said.

Rescue teams managed to talk to one miner through a rock wall after a tremor, measuring 1.2 on the Richter scale, caused sections of the mines to collapse at 10:30 on Friday, Harmony Gold spokesperson Marian van der Walt said.

Van der Walt said the tremor could either be geological or mining induced. Investigations following rescue operations will determine the cause, she said. 

Van der Walt could not say when exactly rescue teams spoke to the miner. It was unclear how thick the rock wall is.

“The five miners all have their safety packs, which would give them oxygen for at least a few hours.”

Several options were being considered to rescue the miners, but the safety of the four rescue teams trying to reach the miners had to be taken into account.

“Obviously we are hoping to get them out as soon as possible. As time goes by it becomes increasingly difficult to save the miners.”

Van der Walt said it was unclear if any of the five were hurt.

“I won’t even dare ask that question. As for now, we are hoping for the best and trust that they will be saved.”

Their families had been informed.

Van der Walt said 3000 miners were working at the mine at the time.

Harmony Gold management and representatives from the department of mineral resources were at the mines’ incident centre to ensure the safe return of the workers, she said.

“Saving these miners remains our top priority. We won’t settle for anything less.”

Read more on:    harmony gold  |  johannesburg  |  accidents

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