A Mines Rescue Team have recovered the bodies of four miners who died in a gold mining accident in South Africa.
Five workers were trapped by a fall of ground at the Tau Lekoa mine near Orkney, South Africa last Friday however following extensive efforts, local Mines Rescue recovered the bodies of the four miners at 1350 metre level in the mine. One miner survived the incident and is being treated in hospital in a serious but stable condition.
The mine is run by South African mining and exploration company, Village Main Reef. The mining accident comes after another rockfall fatality at the same mine on the 24th October 2019.
According to the National Union of Mineworkers, the company had been involved in ‘robbing pillars’ and had failed to create additional ground support at the time of the incident.
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu has called for “drastic action” to improve the safety standards and procedures at mines.
The Union’s National President, Joseph Montisetse said “The NUM strongly believes that it’s necessary to compel the mining industry to comply with safety standards and procedures… We call on the state to hold the industry fully accountable for its failures and adopt a no-nonsense approach when it comes to mine deaths.”
The four men who died at the mine are:
- 42-year-old Xolane Meva
- 32-year-old Mvela Lungiswa
- 32-year-old Katleho Nthibane
- 35-year-old Karabo Mathibule
“The board and management of VMR (Village Main Reef) extend their deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the workers who have died” a statement read.
The Company said they would not respond to any allegations about safety until the Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate investigated the circumstances of the gold mining accident.
The incident reflects the poor safety conditions encountered in South Africa’s mines with 81 fatalities and 2350 occupational injuries occurring across the sector in 2018 (according to the Department of Mineral Resources).
The country also saw medical deaths due to occupational diseases increase in the mining sector to 975 in 2017 according to the South African Government
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