Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe says the priority remains to restore ventilation to Gloria mine and reduce flammable gases underground so the search and recovery process can continue with the necessary speed.
Furthermore, the Minister has called for security at mines to be enhanced in order to effectively address illegal mining.
Seven bodies were discovered in the early hours of Thursday morning, and work to retrieve them will continue once power and ventilation are restored and the flammable gases underground are brought down to more manageable levels.
Cable and copper theft resulted in power to the mine being stopped, increasing the level of poisonous gases underground.
“The work to retrieve the bodies found at Gloria mine is quite complex but it must be allowed to continue so that there can be closure on this matter.
“The business rescue for Optimum, Koornfontein and the other operations must also continue at a faster pace than is currently unfolding, so the mine can get back to operation and get the local economy going again,” the Minister said.
The proto teams continue to assess the gas levels underground, and work is expected to continue tomorrow morning.