7 February 2018

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has slammed Sibanye-Stillwater for keeping the latest mining incident under wraps.  The Union is criticising the company for not learning from past mistakes and not communicating to stakeholders.

AMCU has received reports that there was a seismic event at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Kloof Operations last night.  The event, which happened around midnight at Ikamva Shaft, resulted in two mineworkers being trapped.  It is reported that there is no communication with the trapped mineworkers and therefore their medical condition remains unknown.

AMCU views it as a serious oversight of Sibanye-Stillwater not to keep us informed of such incidents.  Only last week, AMCU was also kept in the dark when more than a thousand workers were trapped underground after an incident at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Beatrix operations.

Last year research showed that mining fatalities were up by twenty percent, which was the first rise since 2008 and the most in two decades.  It is common cause that, at that depth the risk of earthquakes and rockfalls increases significantly.  It also takes longer to bring an injured person to the surface.

AMCU is very concerned about the condition of the workers who are trapped down there.  We know that rock temperatures can reach sixty degrees Celsius at that level – enough to fry an egg, and also enough to ignite methane which is commonly found in high concentrations in deep-level gold mines.  AMCU calls on Sibanye-Stillwater management to step up its rescue efforts so that these workers can be brought back to the surface as soon as possible.  Our prayers are with the workers and their loved ones during this time of uncertainty and fear.