Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 June 2009 – Africa’s biggest gold mine – Driefontein, owned by Gold Fields Limited – has remained shut since two people were killed when rocks fell on them in an underground shaft, following a tremor over the weekend.
Reuters reports that South Africa, which has the world’s deepest gold mines, has a dire safety record, and any fatality leads to the temporary closure of mine concerned by authorities, denting output.
“We are busy with investigations and the entire mine remains closed. It’s too early to say how soon it will resume production,” said Gold Fields spokesman Willie Jacobsz. a spokesman for Gold Fields.
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said six mineworkers had been rescued at Driefontein mine… one was seriously injured that two of the four were in communication with rescuers. “One was seriously injured,” he added.
“The rescue team is trying to rescue the other four. They are able to communicate with two, but the whereabouts of the other two are not known,” said Seshoka.
The company’s Driefontein mine was hit by a tremor on the previous weekend, leading to the death of two miners. It has several shafts, and produced 928 000 ounces of gold in the firm’s 2008 fiscal year.
Last year 168 miners died in South African mines, and about 80 workers have lost their lives so far this year.