12/02/2015 Scenes from a video provided by the mine showing the extend of the damage and rescue operation underway at Vantage Goldfields' Lily Mine in Barberton. Three mineworkers are yet to be retreived after the rescue operation went into it's eighth day. Picture: Screengabs Vantage Goldfiels Mine

Pretoria – Efforts to drill a secondary shaft at Vantage Goldfields’ Lily Mine at Barberton in Mpumalanga are on track, the mineral resources department said.

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane had visited the site to receive an update from mine management, the department said in a statement.

“As previously communicated, it is estimated that rescue efforts will resume in two weeks. Once the drilling has reached the desired depth, work will begin to stabilise the area, after which the rescue can recommence,” the department said.

Teams who would be part of the rescue efforts were undergoing the necessary training, including a health and fitness assessment, to ensure they were ready to resume once the area had been declared safe.

Mineworkers Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Mabuza, and Solomon Nyarenda became trapped underground when the lightroom container they were working in fell into a sinkhole created by a collapsed crown pillar before being covered by huge rocks on February 5. Seventy-six other workers were rescued following the collapse.

The department said in its statement the families of Mabuza, Mnisi, and Nyerende were being kept abreast of developments.

“The minister is encouraged by the progress made thus far, including on humanitarian and social relief efforts provided by government. Households have been profiled in the area, with referrals where necessary.

“Social relief of distress and other psycho-social services continue. Counseling of families and community members will continue to be done as and when required,” the department said.