Minister Gwede Mantashe. File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG – The Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, on Wednesday appealed for vigilance for the health and safety of mineworkers following an incident at Sibanye-Stillwater’s platinum mine. 

About 1 800 miners at Sibanye’s Thembelani shaft in Rustenburg were safely hoisted to the surface from the 14th level on Tuesday night after they were trapped for hours underground. 

On Tuesday, day-shift employees were kept waiting underground after rails which were being transported underground, while being slung under the conveyancer, came loose and fell down the shaft. 

Mantashe commended the successful rescue of the mineworkers using an alternative exit route for them to return to the surface without any injuries reported. 

“Despite strides made on health and safety thus far, we should not be complacent. We are committed to the goal of zero harm at work. Every worker must return home safe,” Mantashe said. 

The Department of Mineral Resources said it will start with a comprehensive investigation into the matter. 

Sibanye said further inspections “on the shaft infrastructure below 15th level will follow now that all employees have been accounted for”. 

The mineral resources at Sibanye’s Thembelani mine is accessed from the surface using conventional underground mining methods about 2.1km below surface. 

African News Agency (ANA)