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Tremor briefly halts Driefontein mine rescue bid

04 May 2018 - 18:08 By Nico Gous
Image: Gallo Images

A 2.1 magnitude tremor on Friday afternoon hit the area near where three mineworkers remain trapped underground.

Rescue operations have entered their second day at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine in Carletonville‚ near Johannesburg.

“The tremors that took place were quite distant from the area. We just pulled our team out briefly just to make sure that everything was safe‚ but resumed quite soon after that‚” mine spokesperson James Wellsted said.

Sibanye-Stillwater reported on Thursday that 13 workers had been trapped underground after three seismic events at its Driefontein operations close to Carletonville. Four of the miners died on Friday and three are still trapped.

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe on Friday urged Sibanye-Stillwater to take extra care during operations after a fatal accident at one of its mines.

“The gold sector has seen an increase in fatalities this year‚ with Sibanye-Stillwater as one of the main contributors. This suggests that greater attention be paid to issues of safety‚ particularly the protection of the lives of workers‚ as opposed to the insistence of chasing production‚” the department said.

“Seismic incidents accounted for about 30% of fatalities in 2017‚ and as a result the minister has requested a team comprising the department‚ Council for Geoscience‚ Mine Health and Safety Council‚ CSIR as well as rock engineers and seismicity experts‚ to look into this as a matter of urgency‚ in order to assist the industry to better anticipate and deal with seismic activities.”