Thirty five days or five weeks to this date have passed since a tragic accident at Vantage Goldfields’ Lily Mine, in Barberton, in Mpumalanga, resulted in three people being trapped underground.
Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule and Solomon Nyarende have been stuck 80m underground since February 5th in a steel container-based lamp room following the collapse of a crown pillar at the open pit gold mine.
On the day the tragic accident occurred, 115 people clocked in for work and nearly all were rescued.
[READ: Day 22: Husband of trapped Lily Mine worker shares his anguish]
Several unsuccessful rescue missions have been attempted. The latest will see rescue operators burrowing to reach the container. This could take up to six months.
“Creating the new portal into the mine to reach level 5 will take six months. It will create an incline shaft that can be used to move equipment in and out of the mine. The mine will build it themselves and employ the existing workforce to do it. After the new portal is completed, they can start looking for the container again,” says Coetzee Zietsman, Lily Mine spokesman.
“We know the collapse was triggered by a crown pillar failed. Why it failed we don't know. There will be an investigation to find out,” says Zietsman.