File: Miners seen underground at the Sibanye Gold mine in September 4, 2015 in Carltonville, Johannesburg.
JOHANNESBURG – Rescue operations would continue at the Kusasalethu Mine in Carletonville until five miners who are trapped about 3.1km underground are brought to the surface, Harmony Gold said.
“Rescuers will search for the employees who are trapped underground until we find them, saving them is our priority at the moment,” spokesperson Marian van der Walt said.
Van der Walt said that about 3,000 miners were working when sections of the mines collapsed at around 10.30am. She said it was unclear whether the collapse was caused by mining activity or seismic waves.
“All the miners were accounted for except these five miners. We are considering a few options for the rescue while keeping the safety of everyone in mind.”
She said the five miners had their safety packs with them.
Underground conditions are causing difficulty in the rescue of the trapped mine workers.
On Friday night rescuers started pumping oxygen into the shaft to keep the men alive.
* Editor's note: This is a developing story and will be updated with information as it becomes available.