Mine rescue operations halted

2013-07-29 14:20

Rescue operations have been halted at a mine in Brakpan North where four illegal miners were found dead.

“The situation is that we are assembling a team along with the department of mineral resources and the SA Police Service (SAPS) to discuss a way forward,” said Ekurhuleni emergency management services senior district manager Rogers Mamaila.

Earlier, National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary Frans Baleni called on the mineral resources ministry to take action.

“The issue of illegal miners is of great concern to (the) NUM; at some point there was a task team established to deal with illegal mining,” he told reporters at the union’s headquarters.

“We condemn it, especially with the continued loss of life. We call on the minerals department to act,” Baleni said.

Four illegal miners died and 11 were wounded during a fight in a mine shaft.

“We’ve counted four (dead miners), but there’s a possibility that the number could rise,” Mamaila said.

Mamaila said shots were fired during an underground clash between two groups of illegal miners.

“We rescued 11 people with various injuries, including gunshot wounds, and some needing amputations,” Mamaila said.

The bodies would remain underground until safety measures were in place for the rescuers.

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