An underground
haulage track at
DRDGold’s ERPM mine
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 22 September 2008 – DRDGold Limited – a medium-sized gold producer with operations and exploration activities in South Africa – has revealed that two of its workers were found dead in a shaft cage that transports workers more than a kilometer underground at its East Rand Proprietary Mines (ERPM) operation.
 
Reporting from here, Bloomberg News quotes company spokesman James Duncan as saying: “It appears they were gassed, asphyxiated – but we don’t know how or by what at this stage.”

He added that the government had issued an order prohibiting workers from entering what it described as “similar areas” until ventilation in all areas had been checked, but emphasised that production had not been affected.

The government started suspending operations at mines where fatalities occur last year, after more than 3 000 workers had been trapped underground for more than a day at Harmony Gold’s Elandsrand mine.

Duncan told Bloomberg that an earlier report from the National Un ion of Mineworkers (NUM) that three workers had died  in the incident was incorrect. The two men killed had been conducting routine water level measurements at the shaft, which was used for water pumping purposes only.

ERPM – which is more than a century old – is located 25 km east of Johannesburg.

Meanwhile, AngloGold Ashanti has confirmed that a worker at its Savuka mine, in North West province, died in a winching accident on Friday. A spokesman said inspection was still ongoing and that details would be made available later. Two other miners died last week in accidents at Amandelbult and Rustenburg mines.

Trade union Solidarity calculates that at least 122 workers have died so far this year in mines in South Africa – the world’s biggest platinum producer and second- biggest gold producer.