Bodies of 42 illegal miners found in South AfricaJune 1st, 2009 - 11:52 pm ICT by IANS
Johannesburg, June 1 (DPA) The bodies of 42 illegal miners, who are believed to have suffocated when a fire broke out underground at a gold mine in South Africa, have been recovered, police said Monday.
Harmony Gold, the world’s fifth-largest gold producer, said in a statement that 36 illegal miners had died underground at its Eland shaft in central Free State province at the weekend.
“The bodies of 36 criminal miners have been brought to surface at the shaft during the past weekend by fellow criminal miners, reportedly following an underground fire in an abandoned area,” Harmony said.
Police captain Stephen Thakeng told DPA the bodies of six more people had been found in another part of the mine.
Mining companies and South African police are cracking down on illegal gold mining - especially prevalent when gold prices are high.
Illegal miners operate in very risky conditions because they ply disused parts of the mine that are no longer maintained and where noxious gases collect.
Marian Van der Walt, a spokeswoman for Harmony, said some illegal miners had notified the company about a fire underground. The dead miners had probably suffocated because of lack of oxygen, van der Walt, said.
Over the past two weeks, 294 criminal miners have been brought to surface at Eland mine and charged, Harmony said.
Thakeng said the illegal miners were usually from South Africa itself or from neighbouring Lesotho and Mozambique. Both Lesotho and Mozambique have for decades supplied workers to gold mines in South Africa, the world’s third-largest gold producing country, after China and the US.
In 2007, 23 illegal miners died in an underground fire, also in Free State province.
- More miners found dead in South Africa, toll over 60 - Jun 02, 2009
- 16 die in China gold mine fire - Aug 07, 2010
- Three killed, 19 trapped in China coal mine cave-in - Jul 02, 2011
- Death toll rises to 37 after last miners found dead in central China mine - Oct 19, 2010
- Up to 20 reported dead after shooting spree at South African mine - Aug 13, 2010
- Toll reaches 28 in China coal mine gas leak - Nov 12, 2011
- Chillean miners likely to be evacuated on Wednesday, says Mining Minister - Oct 10, 2010
- China mine blast kills 21 - Oct 17, 2010
- 18 killed in China coal mine fire - Jan 06, 2010
- Five die in China mine collapse - Sep 25, 2011
- Drillers may reach 33-trapped Chillean miners within hours - Oct 09, 2010
- Seven killed in Pakistan mine blasts (Lead) - Mar 20, 2011
- Chile builds 'cells' to help trapped 33 miners cope - Oct 04, 2010
- Six dead in central China coal mine gas leak - Nov 16, 2011
- Drill mishap delays Chilean mine rescue - Sep 23, 2010
Tags: captain stephen, free state province, gold mine, gold mines in south africa, gold mining, gold prices, gold producer, harmony gold, lack of oxygen, marian, miners, mining companies, noxious gases, police captain, shaft, south africa johannesburg, south african police, spokeswoman, underground fire, van der walt