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National Union of Mineworkers saddened by death of Sibanye workers in SA

CAPE TOWN, February 7 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the biggest union in South African gold mines, said on Wednesday that it was saddened that two mineworkers who were trapped underground at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Kloof mine had died.

The two workers were trapped underground in the early hours of Wednesday at Kloof’s Ikamva 4 Shaft in Johannesburg following a fall of ground, possibly linked to a nearby seismic event at around 01:30am. Rescue personnel were immediately deployed and efforts were made to locate and free them.

NUM national spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said the union was informed that two workers were trapped underground as a result of a big rock that pressed them. One worker was rescued at 9:25am on Wednesday morning but  was declared dead at 10:17am.

At the time, the NUM was still awaiting an updated report from paramedics on the health status of the second worker after the first body was recovered although it was subsequently confirmed that both workers had died.

“We are deeply worried about the safety of workers and we are continuing to witness these shocking fatalities,” Mammburu said.

“The cause of the incident is not yet known but DMR inspectors are investigating. We sell our labour, not our lives, lungs, and limbs. One death is one death too many as we talk about breadwinners of the families.”

Mammburu said the NUM sends its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased during this difficult time.

Sibanye confirmed the death of the two workers at Ikamva 4 Shaft, Kloof gold operations in Johannesburg. Located some 60km south-west of Johannesburg,the Kloof Operation is a complex of intermediate to ultra-deep-level mines at depths of between 1,300m and 3,350m below surface.

Operations in the affected area have been suspended pending an investigation into the incident by Sibanye management together with the Department of Mineral Resources and other relevant stakeholders.

The department said that it will commence with an investigation into the accident and that the shaft has been cleared.

 

Sibanye-Stillwater has said that two of its workers who were trapped underground on Wednesday at Kloof gold operations in Johannesburg, had died.

The two workers were trapped underground in the early hours of Wednesday at Kloof’s Ikamva Shaft following a fall of ground, possibly linked to a nearby seismic event. Rescue personnel were immediately deployed and efforts were made to locate and free the two employees.

“Sibanye-Stillwater regrets to report that two employees were fatally injured during a fall of ground at its Ikamva 4 Shaft, Kloof Operations in Glenharvie at 01:30am on Wednesday 7 February 2017,” Sibnaye said in a statement.

“Sibanye-Stillwater expresses their deepest condolences to the deceased employee’s family, friends and colleagues. Operations in the affected area have been suspended pending an investigation into the incident by Sibanye-Stillwater management together with the Department of Mineral Resources and other relevant stakeholders.”

Located on the far West Rand, some 60km south-west of Johannesburg, the Kloof Operation is a complex of intermediate to ultra-deep-level mines at depths of between 1,300m and 3,350m below surface.

The Department of Mineral Resources also confirmed that the bodies had been recovered and workers declared dead by paramedics.

“The department will commence with an investigation into the accident once the second worker is found and the shaft has been cleared,” the DMR said in its official Twitter page.

Last week, a group of 955 mineworkers were lucky to escape when they were rescued after being trapped underground at Sibanye’s Beatrix gold mine in Welkom, Free State, following a power failure at the mine as a result of a severe storm in the area.

 

Sibanye-Stillwater on Wednesday said two workers were trapped underground at Ikamva Shaft at its Kloof gold mine, south of Johannesburg, following fall of ground in the early hours of Wednesday.

In a statement, Sibanye head of investor relations James Wellsted said rescue efforts were already underway.

“Sibanye-Stillwater regretfully confirms that, following a fall of ground at its Kloof mine, possibly linked to a nearby seismic event, two employees have been trapped underground,” Wellsted said.

“Rescue personnel were immediately deployed and efforts are underway to locate and free the two employees.”

Located on the West Rand, some 60km south-west of Johannesburg, the Kloof 0peration is a complex of intermediate to ultra-deep-level mines at depths of between 1,300m and 3,350m below surface.

The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) said on its Twitter page that Sibanye had already notified it about the incident and its inspectors were on the scene.

“The department has received an accident notification from Sibanye Stillwater’s Ikamva Shaft in Gauteng, following seismic activity. Two workers trapped underground. The department’s inspectors are on site assisting with the rescue operation. Updates to follow,” the DMR said.

Last week, 955 workers were rescued underground at Sibanye’s Beatrix gold mine in Welkom, Free State, after being trapped underground for two nights following power failure at the mine as a result of a severe storm.

At the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday, deputy minister of DMR Godfrey Oliphant, said that the department was happy that there were no fatalities at the Beatrix mine but “we still expect a full report from the mine because health and safety is our daily operation.”.

 – African News Agency (ANA)

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