More than 1,000 trapped Gold Mine Workers Safe Above Ground

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Almost 955 mine workers who spent more than a day trapped underground in" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">Sibanye Gold Ltd.’s Beatrix mine in South Africa following a power failure are all safely back on the surface.

A severe storm on Wednesday night collapsed power lines supplying the mine, located in South Africa’s Free State province, and caused a surge and outage at all three of the shafts, Sibanye said in a statement Friday morning. As a result, most of the Wednesday night shift couldn’t be lifted to the surface.

While the workers at shafts 1 and 4 were hoisted up using emergency back-up generators, damage to some equipment at shaft 3 meant that almost 1,000 workers trapped there had to remain underground, the company said.

Power was fully restored to mines in the area at 1:40 a.m., Khulu Phasiwe, the spokesman for state-owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., said on Twitter.

Sibanye rose 2.3 percent by 9:46 a.m. in Johannesburg, making it the third-best performer in a Bloomberg Intelligence index of 15 large gold companies.

Mine safety is a perennial concern in South Africa, which operates some of the world’s deepest and most dangerous mines. Workers are having to go deeper in ageing shafts to access additional ore in a country that’s been mined commercially for over a century. Last year, fatalities in the sector increased for the first time in a decade.

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane will visit the site later Friday for a briefing, his department said.

Sibanye expects to resume operations at Beatrix on Monday.


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