Death toll rises to seven at Sibanye mine as all trapped workers rescued

The shaft the 13 miners where down when a quake-triggered event trapped them on Thursday. (Image via EWN Reporter | Twitter.)

Seven of the thirteen gold miners who were trapped underground since Thursday at Sibanye-Stillwater’s (JSE:SGL) (NYSE:SBGL) mine in South Africa have died as a result of their injuries, the company confirmed Saturday.

The workers got stuck at the company’s Masakhane mine, part of the Driefontein operations following a quake that caused a fall of ground in an operating stope.

The deaths brings the number of people killed at the company’s operations this year to at least 10.

“The six employees who were successfully rescued, are in hospital and are in a stable condition,” the company said in the statement.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his sadness adding he hoped an investigation into the disaster would identify the causes of the incident and lead to solutions that would address the unacceptable rate of death in South African mines, News24 reported.

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 also 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.

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