Harmony Gold shaft blast leaves six injured


March 21, 2015 - Clouds rise from a mine shaft at a Harmony Gold mine on the outskirts of Welkom following a methane gas explosion on Saturday, in which six construction workers were injured.

JOHANNEBSURG - Six construction workers were injured in a suspected methane gas explosion at Harmony Gold mine&39;s Brand One ventilation shaft in Welkom, during the shaft&39;s rehabilitation process on Saturday.

Matjhabeng Municipality Assistant Fire Chief Francois Klaassen said, “The incident was reported yesterday at around 5pm. Six people were injured and rushed to the Mediclinic in Welkom.”

“A number of houses, vehicles and a shopping center have been damaged as a result of the explosion,” he added.

Harmony&39;s Corporate and Investor Relations executive, Marian van der Walt, said, “Only minor injuries like scratches and bruises were reported by the contractors on site and some properties in the area were damaged."

"We have contacted the hospitals in the area to notify us of any injuries that might be linked to the explosion.”

The accident occurred late afternoon while contractors were filling the shaft barrel with rocks.

“I am not an expert on this but to my knowledge there is methane gas underground and it is released when there is mining," said van der Walt.

"It had built up over time leading to the explosion.” 

“Standard safety procedures were followed by the contractor and the mine leading to the rehabilitation process. However a full investigation is under way to find out what happened,” she added.

A statement by Harmony Gold said, “The filling process has been stopped and the area has been cordoned off.  Residents in the surrounding areas are assured that there is no immediate danger and no probability of a second explosion.”

To report any damages, please contact either of these numbers: 057 904 8414/5/6 or send an email to [email protected]

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Watch the amateur Youtube clip below in which the blast can be heard as it occured in real time:

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