/ 5 May 2008

South Deep given permission to resume mining

Gold Fields’s South Deep Mine was given permission to resume mining after a meeting with the Department of Minerals and Energy on Monday.

”The section 54 ruling [which suspends mining] has been lifted,” said spokesperson Sputnik Rantau.

”The mine has been allowed to go back into operation.”

Last Thursday nine miners died in an accident at the mine and operations were forced to close until the company and the department’s safety officials had met on Monday.

Rantau said an investigation into the cause of the accident would be handed over to a team of independent engineers because there had been accusations and tension over the credibility of the investigation.

It could take two weeks or longer to complete, depending on the amount of work required.

On Thursday May 1, operations at South Deep, Driefontein and Kloof mines were suspended pending safety inspections. 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 Gold Fields spokesperson Andrew Davidson.

A memorial service will be held for the miners at the Twin Shafts complex of South Deep, near Westonaria, on Wednesday. — Sapa