Four miners dead and three still missing at Sibanye-Stillwater mine

Four miners have died, three remain stuck underground and two are still missing at one of Sibanye-Stillwater’s (JSE:SGL) (NYSE:SBGL) gold mines in South Africa following a quake caused a fall of ground Thursday, trapping a total of 13 workers.

Two more quakes were felt Friday near the Masakhane mine, part of the company’s Driefontein operations, where three of the workers remained trapped and two unaccounted for.

Mine fatalities increased last year in South Africa for the first time in a decade, as companies are having to go deeper in ageing shafts to access additional ore.

Search and rescue operations were momentarily halted, local media reported, but have since resumed.

The company expressed its condolences to friends and family of the four deceased employees, and thanked everyone involved in the rescue operations.

This is the fourth accident at one of the company’s mines this year. In February, nearly 1,000 miners got stuck underground for more than 24 hours at Beatrix gold mine, but were found unharmed.

A few days later, two miners died after a section of the Kloof gold operation collapsed. Later that month, another worker lost his life while clearing a blocked ore pass at the company’s Driefontein gold operation.

South Africa is home to some of the world’s deepest and most dangerous operations. Mine fatalities increased last year for the first time in a decade as companies are having to go deeper in ageing shafts to access additional ore in a country that has been mined commercially for over a century.