Natural disaster in South African gold mine kills four, two miners still missing

Eight still trapped underground at Sibanye mine following seismic event

Four miners were killed and three others were trapped underground after an natural disaster hit a gold mine outside Johannesburg, its owners said Friday.

Mine operator Sibanye-Stillwater said that 10 of the 13 employees who were trapped have now been rescued, four of which have succumbed to their injuries and passed away.

Thirteen miners were initially trapped about 3km below the surface but rescuers managed to get several out, company spokesperson James Wellsted told AFP.

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"Management of Sibanye-Stillwater wishes to express its honest condolences to friends and family of the four deceased employees", the company said.

Sibanye-Stilwater produces more gold in South Africa than any other company. "This suggests that greater attention be paid to issues of safety‚ particularly the protection of the lives of workers‚ as opposed to the insistence of chasing production".

Sibanye shares fell 4.1% in Johannesburg, extending this year's decline to 29%.

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The Driefontein accident was caused by a seismic event at about 1:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, Sibanye said.

"The Department of Mineral Resources and all the unions have been informed and representatives are on site assisting with the rescue efforts", it noted. "At our South African PGM operations two employees were fatally injured in two separate incidents", it said. "Mining is very unsafe and mineworkers risk life and limb daily to put bread on the table for their families", Amcu said.

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