Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 5 May 2008 – Leading international gold producer Gold Fields Limited is due to meet with representatives of the Department of Mines and Energy this morning in the wake of last Thursday’s tragedy in which nine workers died at the company’s South Deep mine.
Revealing this here, a company statement confirmed that South Deep remained closed for the moment. Kloof and Driefontein – which were also shut down after the accident – have resumed production, and it is expected that South Deep will resume operations tonight.
Production at South Deep was halted below the mine’s 95 level after an elevator carrying the victims, eight of whom were contract workers, plunged 58 meters (190 feet) when a cable snapped with the workers almost 2 900m underground.
The accident – the worst in Gold Fields’ 10-year history – occurred on the day that Nick Holland replaced Ian Cockerill as company CEO. It brought to 14 the number of workers killed at the company’s South African mines last week. Gold Fields will hold a memorial service on May 7
“If we can’t mine safely, we won’t mine,” Holland told reporters at South Deep over the weekend. He said operations would not resume until an inspection of all the mine’s cables was complete.
Earlier last week five mineworkers were fatally injured in two separate underground accidents at Gold Fields Limited’s Driefontein and South Deep gold mines. during the course of the weekend Four employees at Driefontein lost their lives as a result of a fall of ground in a stope 1 900m below surface at No 10 Shaft. The accident followed a seismic event of 1.7 magnitude.
In a separate accident a driller’s assistant was fatally injured in a fall of ground at South Deep. The accident happened in a development end on 100 level of the Twin Shaft complex –2 700m below surface.