#LilyMine recovery operation: Management waiting for go-ahead from experts

Drilling of an emergency escape route was completed and declared safe.

Miners at Lily Mine in Barberton Mpumalanga on 12 February, 2016. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Management at the Lily Mine say they are now waiting for a team of experts to give the go-ahead for recovery operations to resume for three mineworkers underground.

Yesterday, drilling of an emergency escape route was completed and declared safe.

Experts are combing the scene underground, assessing the safety of the mine near Barberton, where Pretty Nkambule, Solomon Nyerende and Yvonne Mnisi have been trapped in a container for almost a month.

The team is expected to report back to the Department of Mineral Resources, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and the families of the trio, with readings around the stability of the ground.

Spokesperson Coetzee Zietsman said, "So we've completed drilling emergency escape shaft and it was declared safe, so now we can use it as a secondary escape in case something goes wrong on the ground. So that has made it possible for to start putting small teams of experts down into the mine to assess the situation there."

Zietsman added, "We have to make sure that if we send someone down there that they are absolutely safe and we don't end up with another tragedy."