On Wednesday evening, a severe storm shut off Eskom-supplied power to the Sibanye Gold Mine in the Free State Province, South Africa.
This left 950 miners trapped underground for hours at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Beatrix mine at shafts two and three.
South African power utility Eskom, sent out communication yesterday alerting the public of the power outages.
MEDIA ALERT: At 23H18 last night a severe storm caused the collapse of a structure on the 132kV line suppling mines in the Welkom area. @Eskom_SA is assessing the extent of damage and will work speedily to restore supply to the effected mines. pic.twitter.com/8OLyMmC34a
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) February 1, 2018
Reports this morning have confirmed that power has been restored and that rescue operations underway were successful – all 950 trapped miners have been returned safely to the surface.
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) February 2, 2018
In a media release yesterday, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) questioned “the lack on contingency plans in place to deal with this type of incident”.
Amcu’s President, Joseph Mathunjwa, stressed that Sibanye has inadequate safety plans for alternative and back-up power generation when such an event occurs.
“At this point in time, it shows that there is no rescue plan in place. They don’t invest in safety measures to prevent such situations. The generators are more expensive than the lives of the mineworkers,” Mathunjwa surmised.
MEDIA RELEASE: AMCU EXTREMELY CONCERNED OVER 900 TRAPPED BEATRIX MINERS.
AMCU learnt with great concern of 900 mineworkers who are trapped at Beatrix Mine in the Free State. AMCU calls on Sibanye-Stillwater to mobilise all resources to rescue the workers as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/dPjdB1VgdS
— Amcu (@_AMCU) February 1, 2018
Featured image: Eskom