Vantage Goldfields' Lily mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga. File picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Media

Johannesburg - The search for the remains of three miners at Lily Gold Mine, who have been trapped underground in Barberton in Mpumalanga since February when the lamproom container they were working in fell into a sinkhole, would resume in the next six to eight months, the company said on Tuesday.

Lily mine’s business rescue practitioner Rob Devereux said the company was still looking for funding to complete the operation. Devereux insisted, however, that Lily mine’s efforts to secure funding would bear fruit before the end of this year. “We need R200 million and we are hoping to get something imminently,” Devereux said.

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“Lily mine is still closed. We will resume rescue operations when the mine is declared safe. That will happen in the next six to eight months.”

He said the mine had still not paid other workers their outstanding wages for April and May.

Lily miners Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule and Solomon Nyerende were trapped underground when a lamproom container they were working in fell into a sinkhole created by a collapsed crown pillar.

Rescue operations were launched in an attempt to rescue the three workers, but later aborted as the mine was declared unsafe.

Lily mine, which is owned by Vantage Goldfields, subsequently applied to be placed under business rescue administration.

A number of Lily miners have left the company.