Shaft drilling commences at Lily Mine

2016-02-25 07:49
Lily Mine (AFP)

Lily Mine (AFP)

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Barberton - It’s all systems go for the sinking of a new shaft at Lily Mine in Mpumalanga.

The drilling started on Tuesday after a 36-hour break following a mechanical failure at the Barberton Greenstone belt.

Mine Rescue Services (MRS) chief executive officer in South Africa, Christo de Klerk, confirmed that drilling has recommenced.

“I am very happy to confirm that the drilling of the second shaft at Lily Mine has started again and for now we trust that it’s full steam ahead to the business of sinking an extra shaft,” he said on Wednesday.

De Klerk reiterated that the owners of the Schramm mine drill managed to fix the drilling point of the drill that got stuck because of rust.

The decision to drill a second shaft at Lily Mine was made by management of Vantage Goldfields, Association of Mining and Construction Union (AMCU) and the department of Mineral Resources (DMR).

This followed two subsequent cave-ins at the mine, which led to search and rescue operations to find three trapped mine workers being suspended.

The container keeping the three, Pretty Mazibuko, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyarenda, was used as a lamp room and the last stop for miners before they go underground.

It fell into a gaping 80-metre hole that was created by an initial cave-in on February 5.

The shaft that drilling engineers are busy with will go down to underground level 5, from where rescue operations to find the container, have been launched.

On Monday, operations director at Lily mine, Mike Begg, confirmed that the operation has not changed to that of recovery, as searching for the container and the rescue of the three mine workers is priority.

“First of all we need to find the container and our trapped colleagues. That is top of the list,” he said.

The Schramm mining drill made history in 2010 at the time of a rescue operation of 33 miners that were trapped 700 metres underground for 69 days, after a mining disaster in Chile.

A cave-in occurred on August 5, 2010, and the last miners were freed on October 13, of the same year. The Schramm T130 drill rig can drill a hole of 660 metres in diameter and is managed by Collieries Training Centre in Midrand, Gauteng. 

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