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01 Jan 2002 00:00
The three miners who were trapped underground at Harmony’s number eight mine at Evander, 120 kilometres east of Johannesburg, after a pressure burst on Friday morning were brought to the surface at noon on Saturday.
The three men had been unaccounted for after the incident and mine rescue teams worked around the clock to find the men, Harmony chief executive Bernard Swanepoel said.
“The rescue teams working under extremely difficult conditions throughout the night, established contact with the men earlier this morning. Essential services were supplied through openings in the rubble whilst the removal of rock was underway,” he said.
“We are pleased that our members are alive and well,” commented Paris Mashego, regional representative of the National Union of Mineworkers, who was at the mine.
“Our prayers and thoughts were with them all of the time,” he said.
Kwaw Kabaah, a senior inspector from the Department of Minerals and Energy, who was also on site, indicated that they were relieved that the rescue attempt had been completed successfully.
They were now directing their focus on the investigation into the cause of the accident.
“We are extremely grateful that our employees are safe,” Swanepoel added.
“The rescue attempt again indicated what can be achieved through dedication and teamwork.
“An evaluation on the extent of the damage to infrastructure and impact on production at the mine is underway and an announcement will be made early next week,” he concluded.
Four other workers were injured on Friday after the rockfall at the mine.
The tremor occurred around 5.15am about 1 700 metres below the surface near the infrastructure of the shaft.
Five miners were initially unaccounted for.
Rescue workers found two of them in the course of Friday morning. - Sapa
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