Tre­mor briefly in­ter­rupts search for trapped min­ers

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS -

A 2.1 mag­ni­tude tre­mor yes­ter­day 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 pulled our team out briefly just to make sure that every­thing was safe‚ but re­sumed quite soon af­ter that‚” mine spokesman 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 yes­ter­day and three are still trapped.

Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Gwede Man­tashe 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.”

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