Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 28 February, 2008 – Another two people have died in a seismic event at the Elandsrand mine near Carletonville, bringing to ten the number of people killed in mining incidents in South Africa over the past week.
An announcement by Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (Harmony) late yesterday revealed that a seismic event at the Elandsrand mine yesterday morning had caused the death of two mineworkers.
The announcement added that the localised seismic event – which measured 0.9 magnitude on the Richter scale – had occurred in the 78/5 stope, causing a fall of ground in a panel. The damage caused by the event was confined to the top portion of the stope panel.
“Two persons were trapped by the fall of ground, and although they were rescued by their fellow workers within 20 minutes, regrettably both succumbed from their injuries at the scene of the accident,” the statement explained. No other persons were seriously injured.
Work in the area has been stopped until further investigations are done.
Yesterday’s fatal incident followed another fatal seismic incident the previous day at Harmony’s Bambanani mine, in the Free State.
The localised seismic event – which measured 2.1 in magnitude on the Richter scale – occurred on 63 level 73 stope, causing the panel to collapse where a total of 16 employees were working, according to a company announcement.
Medical and proto teams were immediately mobilised and the rescue operation was concluded in two hours. “The final rescue reports indicate that regrettably two persons died and four persons were injured, of which one is in a critical condition,” the announcement added.
Meanwhile six people died as a result of a weekend blast at the Number Six furnace of the Cato Ridge works of leading iron ore producer Assmang Limited (Assmang).
Confirming the latest fatality today, a company announcement here said that two seriously injured Assmang employees were still in hospital.
“Management has met with the families of the affected employees, its employees as well as with employee representatives, and the Department of Labour,” the Assmang statement said.
The company is investigating the cause of the explosion. ARM Ferrous chief executive Jan Steenkamp has said that the damaged furnace is likely to be out of operation for the next five to six months. The rest of the plant is expected to resume operations by Friday.