Lily Gold Mine in Barberton. FILE PHOTO: Vantage Goldfields website
Lily Gold Mine in Barberton. FILE PHOTO: Vantage Goldfields website

JOHANNESBURG  - Siyakhula Sonke Empowerment Corporation (SSC), the new owners of the ill-fated Lily Mine in Mpumalanga, said on Tuesday that it would soon resume operations after the process of recruiting new employees started early this year.

Tuesday marked the third anniversary of an accident at Lily Mine in Mpumalanga which trapped and killed three workers.

Pretty Nkambule, Solomon Nyirenda and Yvonne Mnisi were trapped underground when the lamp-room in which they were working was swallowed by earth after a crown pillar collapsed. Their bodies remain underground.

Operations at the mine ground to halt in February 2016 after the accident, and the mine was placed under business rescue with about 1,000 workers losing their jobs.  

In December, the department of mineral resources approved the transfer of ownership of Lily and Barbrook mine from Australian owned Vantage Goldfields to SCC's subsidiary, Flaming Silver Trading, in terms of Section 11 of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Act.

SCC then received R190 million from the Industrial Development Corporation to restart the mine.

Fred Arendse, SCC group chief executive, said that the Lily Mine must be opened to preserve the community and called on the continued support of the workers.

“There needs to be a dawn of a new Vantage Gold mine that will benefit the people for the better," he said.

Arendse, who introduced the company's team that will be working at the mine, said the recruiting of new employees to work at the soon to be re-opened mine could start as early at March 2019.

Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and construction Union (Amcu), called on mining companies to work to benefit their communities instead of simply extracting the minerals. 

"True commemoration leaves legacies of beneficiation to truly honor the memories of those we have lost," Mathunjwa said.

The department of mineral resources said it was supporting all efforts to resume operations at the mine in a bid to find the deceased workers.

"The department supports all efforts to ensure the new owners are able to resume operations and find the container, so their families and loved ones can have closure," the minerals department said in a statement.

- African News Agency (ANA)