This incident follows a seismic event near the Harmony Gold operation, approximately 3 100 m below surface at 10:30 on Thursday morning, which resulted in a fall of ground.
All operations at the mine, other than those related to the rescue, have been suspended.
Of the five miners initially trapped underground three have been recovered. Sadly, all three had succumbed to their injuries by the time rescuers reached them.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident. Every effort was and continues to be made to get to all of our colleagues as quickly and as safely as possible. Our sincere condolences go to the family and friends of the deceased,” says Harmony Gold CEO, Peter Steenkamp.
Harmony Gold advises that mine management, the Department of Mineral Resources inspectorate and representatives of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union have inspected the area where five employees were trapped underground.
Search and rescue efforts have continued since the incident, with Harmony Gold employees and specially trained volunteer rescue teams from Harmony Gold and other mines operating around the clock. At any one time up to six rescue teams are operational underground.
Parties who participated in the inspection noted that the challenging ground conditions have made rescue efforts particularly difficult.
Efforts to reach the remaining employees will continue until each and every Harmony Gold employee has been found.
The families of the deceased employees, and of those employees who remain trapped, have been notified, and brought to the mine where they have chosen to do so. They are receiving support from the company in these difficult times.
Search and rescue efforts will continue to recover the remaining two trapped employees.
Feature image credit: Harmony Gold