Lily Mine recovery depends on 'government intervention' - lawyer

2017-03-16 10:13
Lily Mine

Lily Mine

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Mbombela – There is still hope of recovering the container with the bodies of the three Lily Mine workers and getting the mine operational again, a lawyer for Amcu has said.

"This almost entirely depends on government intervention," human rights attorney Richard Spoor said on Wednesday.

He is representing the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and investigating the collapse at the coal mine, near Louisville, Mpumalanga, on February 5, 2016.

Pretty Mabuza, Solomon Nyarenda and Yvonne Mnisi were busy in a lamp room housed in a shipping container on the surface when the collapse took place. They disappeared into a sinkhole and were buried under tons of rock. The rescue operation was abandoned when the mine’s owners, Vantage Goldfields, ran out of money.

The aim of the inquiry, which started on Monday, was to get to the bottom of what happened at Lily Mine, to ensure the same mistakes were not repeated.

"The inquiry also seeks to give closure to the families of the three miners who are still trapped at Lily Mine."

Too early to comment

Vantage Goldfields is under business rescue. Unless there is intervention from government or the private sector, the mine has no future.

"Given the history of collapse at Lily Mine – there have been other collapses at the mine prior to the February 2016 incident although not as significant – the private sector will be very reluctant to invest in the future of Lily Mine."

Spoor said useful information from the mine owner detailing the history of the underground mining operations had finally been forthcoming. They had been given a week to read and understand the evidence and to obtain advice from their own experts.

This would be the first time anyone other than the mineral resources department would have access to any documents about the mine.

"Our starting point is simple: either the crown pillar, the body of ore that served as the roof of the mine, and which collapsed, was inadequately designed or someone mined it," he said.

Amcu's Gabriel Nkosi said it was too early for them to comment.

"People were only given a week to read the statement and the mine document. The cross- examination will determine the way forward," he said.

Read more on:    amcu  |  lily mine  |  mbombela  |  mining

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