Harmony Gold loses 8 miners in Doornkop

Harmony Gold's James Duncan says the bodies were discovered this morning.

Harmony Gold's James Duncan says the bodies were discovered this morning.

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu says the death of miners at Harmony Gold's Doornkop mine is regrettable and has vowed to get to the bottom of the matter.

Harmony Gold this morning said eight of its miners who were trapped underground following a fire at the Doornkop operation have died.

Initially 17 employees were trapped, but specialised rescue teams managed to bring nine of them to the surface on Wednesday.

It's believed Tuesday's blaze was started after a seismic event triggered a partial tunnel collapse and damaged electric cables.

Harmony Gold's James Duncan says the bodies were discovered this morning.

"We heard during the early hours of this morning that rescue teams found the bodies of the missing miners. So it's a sad day for Harmony and Doornkop mine."

Meanwhile, an operation to locate a missing miner is underway this morning.

Duncan said, "The rescue teams are continuing to search for one missing miner and until we can close this chapter we continue to hope he's alive and safe somewhere."

At the same time, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called for an urgent investigation into the fire.

NUM's Livhuwani Mammburu said, "We're calling for an urgent investigation to determine the cause of this seismic event because the technology that monitors these things is available."

Harmony Gold's Charmane Russell says there will be a comprehensive probe into the incident.

"There will be a mine-based investigation and a regulatory investigation as well. All operations other than essential services have been suspended."

Meanwhile, Twitter has been flooded with messages of support for the families of the miners.

Heartbroken for the families of the 8 miners who died at Harmony gold.

Thoughts&prayers to the families of the 8 harmony gold miners who were trapped& died underground :(

Condolences to the families of the eight miners who died in the fire at Harmony Gold mine,for now,I will reserve my opinion on this.