Mantashe: 'Gloria mine could close down if bodies not retrieved'

The death toll from the gas explosion at the coal mine currently stands at 13.

Gloria Coal Mine in Mpumalanga where a gas explosion occurred which led to six deaths at the Gloria Coal Mine in Mpumalanga on 7 February 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe says if the bodies still trapped at the Gloria Mine in Mpumalanga are not retrieved, the mine could be closed down indefinitely.

Mantashe was speaking earlier on Friday during his visit to the mine where he's assessed progress on the recovery operation.

“If we don’t get those bodies out, then we will have to close Gloria forever because the odour will keep you away. So, those bodies must be taken out.

WATCH: #GloriaCoalMine: Death toll rises to six

The death toll from the gas explosion at the coal mine currently stands at 13.

However, it’s expected to rise as it’s believed that 20 people are still unaccounted for.

The mine was placed under business rescue last year and it's understood the large group of men had gone underground in search of copper cable.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)