Goldfields denies it left miner's body to rot

The body of a miner who was crushed by rocks at the Beatrix gold mine at Welkom two weeks ago has not been exhumed, Gold Fields said on Tuesday.

“We temporarily suspended the removal of the rocks last week because it was becoming dangerous for the rescue team. But two teams are back on the scene today [Tuesday] trying to exhume the body,” said spokesperson Andrew Davidson.

Two miners were initially trapped after a fall of ground on March 4. One was rescued and was being treated for shock, while the other miner was crushed by huge rocks.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said Gold Fields had been reluctant to have the remains exhumed.

NUM said the company finally agreed to exhume the remains but there was an unpleasant smell close to the scene.

“This is terrible, it is very terrible that a company can reach a conclusion that the remains should remain in the mine,” said Senzeni Zokwana, NUM president.

Davidson said the company was not reluctant to exhume the body, and had adopted a cautious approach.

“We have not given up on the recovery operation.
Our main concern was [for] the living. We don’t leave our dead under the rocks unless there is no possible way they could be removed without injury,” he said. - Sapa

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