Miners rescued from Beatrix gold mine in South Africa | News | DW | 02.02.2018
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


Miners rescued from Beatrix gold mine in South Africa

The rescue team faced the difficult task of bringing up hundreds of workers one at a time from the 700 to 2,200 meter deep mine. The workers had been trapped in the Beatrix mine since Wednesday evening.

All 955 gold miners that had been trapped at the Beatrix Gold mine, which is operated by he Sibanye-Stillwater company, were rescued early on Friday. 

"Everybody's out," company spokesman James Wellsted said. Aside from "cases of dehydration and high blood pressure" the employees did not report serious injuries.

By dawn, several buses with the rescued miners had already left the site in the small town of Theunissen near the city of Welkom. 

Read more: Cobalt mining conditions cast shadow over electric transport dreams

Watch video 03:14
Now live
03:14 mins.

South Africa's Zama Zama miners

Power outage

  • 955 miners were rescued one at a time using a single lift powered by a generator, according to the National Union of Mineworkers.
  • They were underground for approximately 30 hours.  
  • The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) said the miners had been at risk of dehydration and lack of nutrition, especially those on medication.
  • A rescue team was sent down the mine, which has shafts between 700 and 2,200 meters deep

Read more: Africa's governments put pressure on mining groups

Watch video 01:35
Now live
01:35 mins.

Turmoil beckons? Gold mining in South Africa

'Extreme' incident

"AMCU views this incident as extreme due to the sheer number of workers involved," the union said in a statement. "The incident raises serious concern regarding the lacking emergency contingency plans at the mine for alternative and back-up power generation."

"Major multinational corporations like Sibanye-Stillwater which should be industry leaders in creating a safety culture are doing far too little to prevent accidents," a separate union said in a statement.

Declining resources: Gold once formed the backbone of South Africa's economy, but reserves have become depleted. The country has some of the world's deepest gold mines. Sibanye-Stillwater claims to be one of the world's top 10 gold producing companies.

Dangerous industry: Five mineworkers died in a collapse at a separate gold mine outside Johannesburg in August. The union said goldminers "risk life and limb daily." 

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has demanded an independent investigation into the Beatrix mine incident. The Union wants to "hold the mining industry fully accountable for its failures and adopt a no-nonsense approach when it comes to injuries and fatalities in the mining industry."

Read more: Deep sea mining: Charting the risks of a new frontier

jcg,aw/ng (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

DW recommends

Audios and videos on the topic