South Africa 17.2.2016 02:12 pm

Rescue mission to resume at Lily Mine

Members of the rescue team are pictured leaving the collapsed entrance to Lily Mine, 13 February 2016, in Barbeton, Mpumalanga, where rescue operations were halted after a second collapse occurred. Picture: Nicolene Olckers/ Barbeton Times

Members of the rescue team are pictured leaving the collapsed entrance to Lily Mine, 13 February 2016, in Barbeton, Mpumalanga, where rescue operations were halted after a second collapse occurred. Picture: Nicolene Olckers/ Barbeton Times

However, it could take days the safety assessment to be concluded due to underground structural volatility.

Rescue missions at Lily Mine in Mpumalanga are expected to resume soon, management at the mine assured a Parliamentary delegation which visited the mine.

The delegation, comprised of the chairpersons of the Portfolio Committees of Mineral Resources, Labour and the Select Committee of Land and Mineral Resources – represented by Sahlulele Luzipo, Lumka Yengeni and Olifile Sefako, respectively — met with management yesterday to establish the circumstances around the collapse and get progress report on the rescue mission.

“We are satisfied that the management has committed to bringing the workers back to the surface, regardless of circumstances,” said Luzipo said.

However, it could take days the safety assessment to be concluded due to underground structural volatility, Lowvelder reported.

Attempts to free miners Solomon Nyarende, Yvonne Mnisi and Pretty Nkambule, who were inside a container which hurtled about 80m underground on February 5, was halted early on Saturday morning when a second collapse occurred.

On Sunday just before 4pm, another rock fall took place.

Operations director at the mine Mike Begg, mine manager at Vantage Goldfields Eben Swanepoel, and Prof Francois Malan – a rock engineer with special expertise in rock and numerical engineering –   were assessing the stability of the underground situation to determine the way forward.

Begg said a decision on how to proceed would only be made on completion of the stability and safety audit. He said rock was continuing to scale into the pit.

The delegation also met with the families of the trapped miners and conveyed messages of support and comfort.

According to Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa, who has been on site as well as underground every day, the stage has not yet been reached where the rescue operation would become a recovery.

He said that could only be decided after the assessment.

Also read: ‘In God we trust’ – relatives of trapped miners

– Caxton News Service

 

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