Hundreds of South African miners trapped underground

Hundreds of miners are believed to be trapped underground at Sibyane Gold's Beatrix Mine in the Free State in South Africa's Free State province, eNCA reports.

Report says 950 miners were trapped underground on Wednesday night after a storm interfered with electricity supply, adding that 64 have been rescued so far. Reuters reports that more than 1,000 miners
are trapped and that a storm had interrupted the power supply to the mine, but adds that they are not in danger.

James Wellsted, a spokesman for the mining company owned by Sibanye-Stillwater mining company said the miners were safe and receiving food and water. He also added that power was being restored to the mine but there was not yet enough to bring the miners to the surface.

Reacting, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) says it is extremely concerned about the trapped workers. In a statement released by the union, it calls on Sibanye-Stillwater to mobilise all resources to rescue the workers as soon as possible. The union also questions the lack of contingency plans in place to deal with these types of incidents.

AMCU says it views the incident "as extreme" due to the sheer number of workers involved. Adding that, "It is common cause that lives might already be threatened due to dehydration and blood sugar issues because of a lack of nutrition. It is also quite common for adults to be on chronic medication and it is highly probable that there are some workers who are trapped without access to their medicine."

"This incident also raises serious concern regarding the lacking emergency continency plans at the mine for alternative and backup power generation.  AMCU received reports that the mine is now attempting to borrow a generator from Harmony. Surely, this cannot be acceptable and best practice. Amcu insists that the mine should have its own backup-up arrangements."


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