Gold mining company Pan African Resources has confirmed that the bodies of five men have been found in an underground section of the Consort gold mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga.
Pan African said: “Trespassers conducting illegal mining activity set a fire on the Consort mine at Barberton on Saturday, February 21.
“Today the bodies of five of these men were found underground.
“Management have sealed off the area and all necessary safety precautions have been taken, no mine employees have been harmed.
“The police and the inspector of mines have been informed of the incident.
“Mining resumed on schedule … and management expects an insignificant impact on production.”
Earlier the South African Press Association reported that a 14-year-old boy was found dead at one of the old closed sections of the mine around midday.
His body was the fourth found inside the mine, police said.
The bodies of two men were found on Sunday and a third on Monday.
“They all died of smoke inhalation from the mine. They were digging for gold illegally when they inhaled chemical gas smoke inside the mine.
“We are still looking for other bodies inside the mine because community members told us that more than five people attempted to dig for gold at the mine,” police said.
A man who survived the smoke inhalation was arrested late on Sunday after being discharged from hospital.
He appeared in the Barberton Magistrate’s Court on Monday and is expected to make his next appearance on March 6.
He is facing charges of trespassing and theft. — I-Net Bridge