Picture: Phill Magakoe.

Johannesburg - Harmony Gold Mining Co. said eight workers were found dead after a blaze at its Doornkop mine in South Africa that halted operations this week.

“The search continues for the ninth employee,” the Johannesburg-based company said in an e-mailed statement today.

Search and rescue and deep-level firefighting teams were deployed at about 6 p.m. on February 4 after a fire broke out 1,733 meters (5,700 feet) underground, according to the company.

Eight trapped miners were found in an underground refuge chamber and brought to the surface unharmed, it said.

When the last worker is found, the search and rescue team will need to make sure the fire has been properly extinguished before an inspection can be conducted, according to an e-mailed statement from South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources.

The blaze started after falling rock damaged power cables, according to the National Union of Mineworkers.

Ventilation and water pipes were also affected. - Bloomberg News