Tragic end for Harmony’s Doornkop miners: eight found dead

South African rescuers have recovered eight bodies from Harmony Gold’s (NYSE:HMY) Doornkop mine, near Johannesburg, who died after a fire and rock fall Wednesday. One other miner is still missing.

In a statement the company regretted the fatalities and confirmed the blaze was caused by a seismic event that also triggered a subsequent fall of ground.

The country’s government said this accident is the most serious in South Africa's mines since nine workers died in a rock fall at a platinum mine in July 2009.

"The situation is deeply regrettable," Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said in a statement. "We must ensure that we do all we can to get to the bottom of what caused this incident in order to prevent similar occurrences in future."

The Doornkop mine produced 3,631kg of gold in 2013, or about 10% of Harmony’s total output. Operations at the mine, which has a single shaft extending to a depth of just under 2,000 metres, have been halted.