Nearly 1000 miners trapped underground in Sibanye Gold mine in FS
02 February, 2018, 00:55 | Author: Bert Pena
Thunderstorms were blamed for bringing down power lines near the site, leaving the miners stranded in tunnels and shafts.
This after a power outage caused by last night's storm resulted in 940 workers being trapped overnight.
Sibanye wanted 900 workers at 3 Shaft to wait there until the winder serving the shaft was back in working order, rather than have hundreds of people walking for four hours to 2 Shaft, said company spokesperson James Wellsted.
Food and water is being delivered to those trapped in the mine, which is run by the Sibanye-Stillwater company - the largest individual producer of gold in the country.
Wellsted says: "They have all been accounted for, they're at the waiting station".
The proto-team, or professional rescue team, was with the trapped miners, he said.
They said all miners had been accounted for underground.
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Sibanye-Stillwater says it's unclear how much longer miners will have to spend trapped underground.
"The life of the mineworker is very cheap because it's clear that they don't invest in prevention [methods] because each and every mine, we must have a proper generator as a backup and also it raises some questions in terms of their escape route".
"AMCU views this incident as extreme given the sheer number of workers involved".
"It is also quite common for adults to be on chronic medication, and it is highly probable that there are some workers who are trapped without access to medicine".
AMCU, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, said that the workers stuck underground were facing major health and safety risks.
South Africa possesses rich mineral reserves and has some of the world's deepest gold mines, but production has declined sharply in recent years due to depletion of reserves.
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