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Mantashe to visit Gloria coal mine for update on rescue efforts

Authorities say more than 20 people are still unaccounted for after rescue efforts were halted on Thursday due to safety concerns.

FILE: Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is expected to visit Gloria coal mine in Mpumalanga on Friday morning to receive a progress report on rescue efforts for 22 people still trapped underground.

Seven more bodies were recovered at the mine on Thursday after rescue operations resumed.

Six people were confirmed dead last week after a group of suspected criminals went down one of the shafts allegedly to steal copper cables.

Authorities say that more than 20 people are still unaccounted for after rescue efforts were halted on Thursday due to safety concerns.

Cosatu Mpumalanga provincial secretary Thabo Mokoena says this could’ve been avoided.

“Lack of security made the mine vulnerable to issues of criminal activity, and criminal elements took advantage of the situation.”

He says closing the mine in the first place led to the disaster.

“If the mine was operation there was not going to be any casualties because the miners are fully protected.”

Rescue team says they will resume rescue operation once ventilation has been improved.

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