Driefontein mine death toll now at 7

Mine management says the worker appears to have succumbed to his injuries.

The Masakhane shaft at Sibanye-Stillwater's Driefontein mine near Carletonville. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The death toll in a seismic event at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine near Carletonville has now risen to seven after the body of another miner was discovered on Saturday morning.

Mine management says he appears to have succumbed to his injuries.

All 13 miners have now been accounted for, with six still being treated in hospital.

Sibanye's James Wellsted says: “We’ve just retrieved the last employee where he was trapped and unfortunately he’s passed away from his injuries. The total is now seven.”

Wellsted adds rescue operations have concluded.

"We're still bringing the bodies to the surface, but we've now completed the search and rescue operations."

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe went to the mine on Friday night and urged management to prioritise the safety of workers.

Mantashe says Sibyane should have pulled workers from underground after the first seismic event and that his department will do everything it can to ensure that the mine is safe before operations resume.

“They’ll do the inspection and inquiry. We’ll commit to this process. We must be systematic and orderly.”

Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called on the Mineral Resources Department to investigate the rate of deaths in the mining sector, after the deadly rockfall at the Sibanye-Stillwater mine.

Sibanye-Stillwater mine has seen more than enough troubles in the last few months at its mining sites.

The company has experienced three fatal incidents in 2018, most of them related to miners being trapped underground.

In early February this year, mine safety came into sharp focus after the rescue of almost a thousand miners who'd been trapped underground in the Free State.

The large group was unable to surface at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Beatrix mine when the power cut out.

All 955 workers were rescued, with some needing treatment for minor injuries and dehydration, after having spent more than 30 hours underground.

A week after the Beatrix mine incident, two miners died at Sibanye-Stillwater's Kloof Mine in Gauteng.

The workers lost their lives after they were trapped by a rock fall underground.

Nearly two weeks later, a mine worker died at Sibanye-Stillwater's Driefontein operations near Carletonville, the very same mine where the latest incident took place.

Additional reporting by Leeto M Khoza.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)