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Sun Dec 04 03:55:22 SAST 2016

Hope is slowly fading – Lily Mine boss

Karabo Ngoepe | 2016-03-10 18:53:23.0
Three workers have been trapped underground since February 5. They are believed to be stuck in a container buried under 80m of rock that fell into a sinkhole during a cave-in. File photo
Image by: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / REUTERS

Things seem bleak for the families of the three miners trapped underground at Lily Gold Mine in Mpumalanga as the CEO of Vantage Goldfields, Mike McChesney, admitted hope was fading away.

"There was communication and we were using state of the art communication devices during that first week and after that the communication faded and we had the second collapse," said McChesney.

"Since then we have been on the back foot because of the complexity of the problem. We really have a situation now where we have a good chance of recovering this thing, but the mood is sombre... but I think people have come to terms with the reality of the situation."

Three workers have been trapped underground since February 5. They are believed to be stuck in a container buried under 80m of rock that fell into a sinkhole during a cave-in.

Initially, 78 workers were trapped after a central, or crown pillar collapsed. Seventy-five managed to escape unharmed. Yvonne Mnisi, Solomon Nyarenda and Pretty Mazibuko are still unaccounted for.

Mine's future uncertain

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said the primary aim was to ensure they brought the container to the surface and they started with whatever investigations or work was necessary.

"Our people on the ground have one message, they want to know the truth, and they want to have closure on this matter. They believe once the container is brought to the surface that will bring closure in their lives. We are equally sensitive about this matter. We must indicate that as days go by, hopes are fading," he said.

McChesney added that the future of the mine would be reviewed in the next few months. He said the recovery of the container would be priority number one. He would not divulge what that entailed or if people would lose their jobs.

"We are reviewing the future of the mine. Our primary objective is to retrieve the container. In the next few days we will start implementing our plan to do that and... we will start to look at the future of the mine because the people are concerned about their positions and their jobs. While we have every intention of looking after that, we have to make a combined decision," he said.

Source News 24

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