Hundreds of South African miners remained trapped below ground at shafts one and three at the Sibanye-Stillwater Beatrix gold mine in the Free State province on Thursday.
The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) said the trapped mineworkers have been accounted for and that its inspectors were on site to provide support and advise on the rescue operation.
“Currently all employees still underground are accounted for. Updates will be provided as the situation unfolds,” DMR said on its official Twitter page.
“The department’s inspectors are on site providing support and advise on the rescue operation following a power outage which resulted in mineworkers being trapped underground.”
According to trade unions, about 950 workers were trapped underground at Sibanye-Stillwater owned mine after a power outage reportedly due to a severe thunderstorm.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said that approximately 40 workers at Shaft 2 had been rescued and brought back to the surface, the remaining 900 at Shaft 3 still remain underground.
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu told African News Agency that the miners were trapped since Wednesday night after “the cage takes the workers to the surface stopped working because of a power failure”.
Mammburu said it was not known exactly how many workers were trapped despite reports of 950 miners being trapped and 65 having been rescued.
– African News Agency (ANA)