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05 May 2008 11:07
Gold Fields’ South Deep mine remained closed on Monday ahead of a meeting between the company and the Gauteng mines safety inspector to determine whether conditions were safe enough for operations to continue.
Nine people died at the company’s South Deep mine last Thursday.
“There will be no mining at South Deep until the principal inspector of mines has met with management and unions. In essence that mine is closed,” said Gold Fields spokesperson Andrew Davidson.
There had been no operations over the weekend either, he said.
Department of Minerals and Energy Affairs spokesperson Sputnik Rantau said the purpose of the meeting, due to start at 10.30am, would be to look at whether the area where the accident happened was safe enough for operations.
On May 1, operations at South Deep, Driefontein and Kloof mines were suspended pending safety inspections and on Friday the company said it had received the go ahead to resume work at Driefontein and Kloof, and for operations above South Deep’s 95 level, as well as for essential services.
“Contrary to what was said in certain media, the Section 54 notice issued by the Department of Minerals and Energy in respect of South Deep was fully complied with.
Only essential services were conducted at South Deep,” said Davidson.
However, Rantau said that no clearance had been issued.
“They were not given clearance for essential services,” said Rantau.
The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) issued a statement on Saturday claiming that the mine was coercing workers to return to their posts and wanted an independent investigation into claims that a junior inspector gave the mine clearance on Friday.
NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said: “As far as we understand, they have not received any clearance.”
A memorial service will be held for the miners at the Twin Shafts complex of South Deep gold mine, near Westonaria, on Wednesday, May 7.
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