Three workers killed at Sibanye mine

Three workers have been killed underground a mine owned by Sibanye-Stillwater [JSE:SGL] and two others are still missing, the company said on Monday.

According to a statement by the mine, five workers had entered an “abandoned working place” at Kloof Ikamva shaft, south of Johannesburg.

“Sadly, three employees have been retrieved and declared deceased,” the statement read.

“Mine rescue teams are still searching for two employees.”

The company did not provide details as to what the workers were doing in an abandoned area.

The Monday accident is the latest to hit the diversified gold producer this year, after seven employees perished in a ground fall caused by a seismic tremor last month.

The tremor which occurred at Masakhane mine had trapped 13 workers.

In February, two workers were trapped underground at the Kloof Ikamva shaft, following a seismic event.

South Africa with its deepest gold mines has one of the highest mine fatalities in the world, although the deaths have been declining since 1994.

Last week, Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman told an investors meeting that the company had seen a “regression in safety performance”, blaming the majority of accidents to human error.

Froneman emphasised that seismic events were a common occurrence in deep-level mines, and that there was no technology predict seismicity.

The Department of Mineral Resources and unions have been informed of the accident, Sibanye said in the statement. 

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) put the death toll at four, instead of three workers as revealed by Sibanye.

The unionexpressed shock at the accident, urging state intervention on mining safety.

The union is calling for an amendment to mining legislation to improve safety.

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