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01 May 2019 08:10
Just before 9pm, the department confirmed on its official Twitter account that around 1 000 employees had been safely brought to surface. (Gallo)
All 1 800 miners who were trapped underground on Tuesday have been brought to surface, the department of mineral resources confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.
It is believed that the workers were trapped at the company’s Thembelani mine after the rails used to transport workers collapsed.
The workers entered the mine on Tuesday morning and the incident happened around lunch time, when the shift would normally end, Sibanye-Stillwater spokesperson James Wellsted told EWN on Tuesday.
Just before 9pm, the department confirmed on its official Twitter account that around 1 000 employees had been safely brought to surface. An alternative exit route was utilised to enable workers to return to the surface.
Speaking to News24, Wellsted said that the workers were not trapped, but that they were “stuck” after an incident in the shaft.
No injuries had been reported at the time, he added.
This latest incident has revived concerns about safety at Sibanye operations.
Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe has appealed for vigilance on health and safety at mines.
“Despite strides made on health and safety thus far, we should not be complacent. We are committed to the goal of zero harm at work. Every worker must return home safe,” he said.
The department says it will launch a comprehensive investigation into the matter.
Kiri Rupiah is the Mail & Guardian’s online editor. Read more from Kiri Rupiah
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