Ramathlodi commends rescue ops at Kusasalethu mine

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South Africa’s minerals minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodi has commended the rescue operation conducted at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine.

This is after an incident on Sunday where about 486 miners were trapped when a fire broke out underground at the mine.

“The Mine Rescue Services, labour unions and mine management did a sterling job, and we are grateful that all the miners are safe,” Ramatlhodi said at a meeting with management and unions at Kusasalethu mine.

(READ MORE: Fire contained at Harmony Gold but hundreds still trapped)

“The health and safety of mineworkers remains a top priority, and we urge employers to remain vigilant in this regard and continue to comply with provisions in the Mine Health and Safety Act, as well as the declaration signed by all stakeholders at last year’s Health and Safety Summit.”

According to the department, the Chief Inspectorate of Mines is expected to undertake an investigation and inquiry into the incident, while the mine implements remedial measures.

Alwyn Pretorius, [DATA HAR:Harmony’s] chief operating officer, said, “We will participate fully in the investigation into the events that led to the fire.”

“Whatever answers are arrived at, from both the official Department of Mineral Resources investigation and our own internal enquiry, will be used to inform measures to be taken to prevent a recurrence,” he added.

Pretorius further stated that the systems that the company had in place – the refuge bays as well as the well-trained Mine Rescue team members – worked effectively.

“To the rescue teams, Harmony management offers its gratitude and admiration,” he stated.