All free after underground fire traps 486 miners

All free after underground fire traps 486 miners

2015-02-22 21:40

Cape Town – Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR] praised its rescue team on Sunday evening, after it completed a 12-hour rescue mission to bring to the surface 486 mineworkers trapped 2.3km underground by a fire at Kusasalethu Gold mine, near Carletonville, 75km west of Johannesburg.

“We are happy to report that all the miners have been brought safely to the surface,” said Harmony Gold spokesperson Pam McLeod.

READ: As it happened

“No injuries have been reported and this really is to the credit of the mine rescue teams and everyone on the mine who have worked quickly and safely to get everyone out.”  

“A fire started on the mine's 75 level, approximately 2 300m below surface, at around 09:40 this morning," Harmony said in a statement.

“It is believed to have started during maintenance work on a bulk air cooler,” it said.

“The rescue teams responded immediately,” said  McLeod.

The last mine workers were brought to safety at about 21:00, with no injuries reported.

The mine workers would receive counselling and a thorough investigation would take place into the incident, according to McLeod.

She could not comment on whether the mine, which was shut down, would re-open on Monday.

The mine produced 24917 ounces of gold in the last quarter, but the mine is currently experiencing a production dip due to a restructuring process that should be completed by the end of February.

Before the operation to start bringing mine workers to the surface, workers were moved to refuge bays underground, which are supplied with fresh air, water and telephone communication to surface.

“There are 128 refuge bays at Kusasalethu Gold Mine, which are equipped with fresh water and fresh air and communication systems,” said Harmony Gold spokesperson Charmaine Russell.

“All employees below are equipped with self rescuers. This provides fresh air to employees for a period of time, which enables them to get to refuge bays.”

The fire was contained and ventilation flow to the fire was sealed off.

Three people died at Kusasalethu mine in 2014, two people died in 2013 and four people died in 2012 (financial year), according to key stats on the company's website.

Listen to the podcasts as the incident unfolded:

  • Gerhard van Staden - 2015-02-22 22:06

    Hectic! I know someone working there!

      Franky Mark - 2015-02-22 22:28

      Well done, Harmony give those men some Bells !

      C'est moi - 2015-02-23 00:03

      WOW - That's so good to hear.

  • Bertus Pretorius - 2015-02-22 22:20

    Glad this ended well!

  • Carmen Duncan - 2015-02-22 22:43

    For a change, excellent news... well done all rescue teams.....

  • Chariot Mgcoki - 2015-02-22 22:46

    Great work thumbs up well done

  • Albert Myburgh Burger - 2015-02-22 22:46

    Good news! 500 families who's breakfast this morning will taste better than any before them...

  • Luckey Mbestereo Jahguy - 2015-02-22 22:47

    Tanx JaH no Fatal no injuries

      C'est moi - 2015-02-23 00:19

      Thanks from me too.

  • Adam Neira - 2015-02-22 23:01

    Prayers for the miners after this near miss.

  • Rendani Esperanza Rammela - 2015-02-22 23:36

    Well done

  • Rendani Esperanza Rammela - 2015-02-22 23:37

    Well done

  • Nanina Schelan - 2015-02-22 23:45

    Well done to all involved

  • Michael Horn - 2015-02-23 00:24

    Some good news! Well done to everyone

  • eric.mathabatha.14 - 2015-02-23 01:09

    Well done to everyone involved we are now releaved after hearing good news...God is great!!!

  • onaboaeon.bottoman - 2015-02-23 02:17

    Thumbs up

  • Boyce Nicholas Simelane - 2015-02-23 04:07

    God Is Love,Beautiful&Father we Thank u for Saving the Lives of Our Brothers&Sisters...(With God Everything Is Possible)

  • Refilwe Fifi Madihlaba - 2015-02-23 04:31

    Thank you Jesus

  • Bernard van der Westhuizen - 2015-02-23 05:08

    Well done, awesome news to start the week with.

  • Charles Shibambu - 2015-02-23 05:53

    Thanks God, What a goood news, though refuge bays are not equiped with da descrptions which are being mentioned, such as fresh water, etc. I Worked there for more than 3 years. Poor maintanance.

  • Soula Foord - 2015-02-23 05:55

    Thank God

  • Soula Foord - 2015-02-23 05:56

    Praises to rescue team

  • Thandeka Cele - 2015-02-23 06:41

    Good news....I'm sure Malema is dissapointed

  • My name here - 2015-02-23 06:55

    Well done!!!

  • Nthokolose Puleng Marope - 2015-02-23 07:11

    Thanks God.

  • Legendarry - 2015-02-23 07:12


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