Posted by News Express | 5 February 2016 | 2,710 times
More than 100 people were unaccounted for after a gold mine in Mpumalanga caved in, a union official said on Friday, while emergency services said 49 miners had so far been brought to the surface.
South Africa’s mines are the deepest and among the most dangerous in the world.
Manzini Zungu, spokesman for the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), said 115 union members were trapped underground after a cave-in at the Makonjwaan Gold Mine in Barberton at 8.40am.
“At this point it’s unclear what caused the disaster,” he said. A spokesman for ER24 said 49 miners had so far been brought to the surface, and that they had sustained only minor injuries.
Fatalities in the industry have been falling due to both improved safety practices and a reduction in the labour force, as production declines.
Last year, 77 workers were killed in mining accidents, the lowest number on record.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa meanwhile on Friday expressed concern that an entire shaft could collapse, saying criminal charges against management should be brought if later investigations showed negligence.
“As Amcu we condemn in the strongest terms the mine management of Makhonjwaan Mine, the Chamber of Mines, the Department of Mineral Resources and Department of Labour for their absolute criminal neglect towards mine workers in this country,” Mr Mathunjwa said.
“Just recently the DMR was commending themselves of declining fatalities and accidents in the mining industry,” said Mr Mathunjwa, adding that one death was however too many.
Trade Union Solidarity said on Friday the union, which has members at the mine, was committed to giving support to the affected and to doing everything in its power to assist the search and rescue team. (Reuters)
•Photo courtesy of www.timeslive.co.za shows Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa.
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