JOHANNESBURG, February 2 – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa said on Friday it wanted Sibanye Stillwater’s Beatrix mine in the Free State province to remain shut until workers safety could be guaranteed after more than 950 miners were trapped underground after a power outage.
Rescuers on Friday saved all miners who had been trapped since Wednesday night when a power outage shut down their elevator to the surface. No fatalities were reported.
Numsa said the incident was the latest proof that the mining industry “has no interest in improving safety conditions underground.
“They pursue profits before the well being and safety of workers. Beatrix Mine should remain shut pending a full investigation,” the union said in a statement.
Parliament’s portfolio committee on mineral resources said it was outraged that the mine did not have an adequate backup plan for a power outage.
“Although appreciating the reality that a storm is a course of nature, the committee strongly believe that a caring management, that values the lives of its workers, should have anticipated the possibility of power outage,” it said.
“It is utterly unacceptable that an underground mine whose operation takes place under the light of a bulb could attribute its failure to bringing workers on the surface to power outage. This goes to demonstrate the attitude of management towards safety.”
It urged the department of mineral resources to “act swiftly and take drastic actions to such acts of carelessness”.
– African News Agency (ANA)