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#LilyMine: Drilling operations will officially start today

Rescue operators will continue efforts today to free three workers who've been trapped for over two weeks.

FILE: Three mineworkers have spent over two weeks trapped in a container underground, following the collapse of the mine surface. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Drilling operations at the Lily Mine in Barbeton will officially start today, as rescue operators attempt to free three mineworkers trapped by a surface collapse.

Authorities say specialised equipment was brought onto the site last night and assembled in preparation for the creation of an alternative exit route.

Yvonne Mnisi, Solomon Nyerende and Pretty Nkambule have been trapped in a mobile container 80 metres underground for over two weeks ago.

Due to continued rockfall, officials have had to halt recovery operations for at least two weeks, until they can drill a shaft wide and deep enough to move through safely.

Mine Spokesperson Coetzee Zietsman says operations are one day ahead of schedule.

"They are already ready to start drilling this morning. That would put it one day ahead of their planned schedule. Obviously everyone is very happy about that and full drilling will commence today."

WATCH: Inside the Lily Mine

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