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Probe into why generators failed to kick in at Sibanye-Stillwater mine

Sibanye Stillwater's Beatrix mine confirmed on Friday morning that 955 workers were brought back to surface safely, following a power outage that was caused a severe storm on Wednesday.

Authorities at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Beatrix mine facilitate the extraction of workers and the delivery of food, water and medicine to nearly 1000 miners trapped underground. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane says his office will investigate why generators at Sibanye-Stillwater's Beatrix mine apparently failed to kick in after a powerful storm cut electricity supply, leaving more than 1,000 workers trapped underground.

Sibanye confirmed on Friday morning that 955 workers were brought back to surface safely, following a power outage that was caused a severe storm on Wednesday.

A smaller group of workers had been rescued earlier.

The incident has revived calls for mine safety to be prioritised.

Zwane says he's pleased with the outcome of Friday's meeting.

“We do not want to speculate in terms of what happened but what we got as an explanation is that the system was also affected by the surge and we’re doing our own investigations around that.”

At the same time, Zwane is hopeful safety concerns at Beatrix mine will be addressed following a meeting with mine management and unions.

The minister met with the parties on Friday afternoon after unions slammed Sibanye over the incident.

Zwane says the meeting yielded positive results.

“We, the unions, management and the department, had a very good meeting aimed at resolving issues.”