Second miner dies at Driefontein mine, rescue operations continue

Rescue operations continued overnight at Sibanye-Stillwater's Driefontein mine where a group of miners are trapped underground.

FILE: Sibanye-Stillwater's Masakhane mine in Driefontein. Picture: sibanyestillwater.com

JOHANNESBURG – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has confirmed that a second miner has died at Sibanye-Stillwater's Driefontein operation.

A total of 13 workers were trapped underground following a seismic event on Thursday.

The mine is yet to confirm the latest fatality but late last night confirmed that one worker died while being brought to the surface.

Two other miners have been freed and are recovering in hospital and six remain unaccounted for.

It is understood that rescue operations are continuing this morning.

One miner died at the same mine near Carletonville earlier this year and before that, two workers died at Sibanye's Kloof operation on the West Rand.

James Wellsted speaks for the company: “We had a seismic event about 3km underground at our Driefontein mine and it resulted in a fall of ground in one of the shafts where 13 of our employees were working.”

At the same time, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) says the mine could have cleared the shafts earlier because there was another seismic event before the one that trapped the miners.

Amcu's president Joseph Mathunjwa says: “There was a seismic event of which I believe the first event that happened, is where the mine should have evacuated the working areas and to get the workers out of the ground before the (second) seismic event happened.”