JOHANNESBURG – Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and the Premier of Mpumalanga Province, David Mabuza, on Monday met with the families of the three trapped Lily Mine workers, mine employees and management of the mine.
The objective of the meeting was to receive feedback from the mine’s management on progress made in securing funding that would enable the mine to compensate the affected families and mineworkers, as well as to develop a decline for retrieval of the container.
Lily Mine workers Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule and Solomon Nyerende were trapped underground in Barberton, Mpumalanga, on February 5 last year when a lamp room container they were working in fell into a sinkhole created by a collapsed crown pillar.
Rescue operations were launched for the three workers, but later aborted as the mine was declared unsafe. At least 76 of their colleagues were rescued.
Subsequent recovery operations at the Barberton operations have since stalled as the company has failed to raise the R200 million needed to drill a second decline.
Soon after the disaster, Zwane announced that Vantage Goldfields, owners of Lily Mine, would pay R200,000 each to the families of Mnisi, Nkambule, and Nyerende, and R50,000 each to the rescued employees as compensation.
The company indicated that the mine was in talks with possible investors who have shown interest.
In a statement on Monday, the Department of Mineral Resources said that Zwane and Mabuza committed to engage neighbouring mining companies in an effort to negotiate that some Lily Mine and Barbrook employees be employed.
They said at least 10 job opportunities had already been secured.
Zwane said government remained committed to working with the mine in retrieving the container as this would bring closure to the families. He further committed to provide regular feedback on progress made.
Mabuza’s provincial government’s committed to provide food parcels to the affected families.
– African News Agency (ANA)