[UPDATE] All miners trapped in Sibanye-Stillwater mine rescued
About 1,000 miners became trapped on Wednesday during a power outage.
JOHANNESBURG – Sibanye-Stillwater has now confirmed that all the trapped mineworkers at its Beatrix mine in the Free State have been rescued.
Nine hundred and fifty-five workers were trapped for more than 30 hours underground as a result of a power outage caused by a severe storm.
Eskom restored power in the early hours of Friday morning after attempts to rescue the workers using generators failed.
While some mineworkers have been driven by buses to the mine’s clinic for checkups, others are driving out of the premises.
The mine’s James Wellsted has confirmed that all workers have resurfaced.
"We do have medical staff on hand and we will deal with any emergencies as they come up. We had communications down there the whole time that they were underground, and we had no indication that anybody was in any kind of distress."
He says the workers have been given a break to recuperate until next week.
Parliament's portfolio committee on Mineral Resources has reacted to the situation in the Free State, describing it as "utterly unacceptable".
The committee is demanding an explanation as to why no backup plan was made before the power went out.
It says that the incident demonstrates the attitude of management towards safety and has urged Mineral Resources Minister Mozebenzi Zwane to act swiftly by taking drastic action.
Portfolio committee chairperson Sahlulele Luzipo: "The thinking should have been clear immediately after the first incident. There should be mechanisms in place to act as an alternative or there should be no way that those people should have been allowed to be underground when it is clear that there was no electricity supply."
Minister Zwane is expected to visit the mine later today.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it will commit itself to investigating power outage.
NUM's Livhuwani Mammburu says the safety of mineworkers should be taken seriously.
“As NUM, we’re worried and we’ll make sure as the union that we leave no stone unturned during the investigation of this incident.”