Kusasalethu gold mine on February 22, 2015 in Cartlonville, South Africa. Harmony Gold and the mineral resources department are conducting a joint investigation into a fire which started at the gold mine on the morning of February 22, 2015.
JOHANNESBURG – Difficult ground conditions are hampering the search and rescue efforts for three miners still trapped underground at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine near Carletonville, the company said on Sunday.
Mine management, the mineral resources department (DMR) inspectorate, and representatives of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Sunday inspected the area where five miners were trapped underground on August 25, Harmony Gold said in a statement.
This followed a seismic event that resulted in a fall of ground about 3100 metres below surface at the mine. About 3000 miners were working when sections of the mine collapsed at around 10.30am. All but five had been accounted for.
“Sadly, two employees who had succumbed to their injuries were found and brought to [the] surface in the past 48 hours,” the company said.
Search and rescue efforts had continued since the incident, with Harmony employees and specially trained volunteer rescue teams from Harmony and other mines operating around the clock. At any one time up to six rescue teams were operational underground.
“The parties who participated in the inspection today [Sunday] noted that the challenging ground conditions have made rescue efforts particularly difficult. Efforts to reach the remaining employees will continue until each and every employee has been found. Harmony suspended all operations at the mine shortly after the accident occurred.
“The families of the deceased employees, and of those employees who remain trapped, have been notified and brought to the mine where they have chosen to do so. They are receiving support from the company in these difficult times,” Harmony Gold said.