20180205. South Africa’s mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane at the Cape Town mining indaba. Picture: Siphelele Dludla/ANA

CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane said on Monday that government had completed its inquiry into the tragedy of Lily mine and that the report would now be handed over to the Department of Mineral Resources. 

"The inquiry into the Lily Mine accident has been concluded, and a report will be submitted to the department in the next few weeks," Zwane told delegates at the opening of the "Mining Indaba" in Cape Town. "We would all agree that closure and finality is critical on this matter, especially for the families of Miss Yvonne Mnisi, Miss Pretty Nkambule and Mr Solomon Nyerende."

The bodies of Lily Mine workers Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule, and Solomon Nyirenda remain underground after a lamp room container in which they were working was swallowed up by the earth when a pillar collapsed at the mine on the morning of 5 February 2016.

The Cape Town Mining Indaba is the world's largest gathering of the most influential stakeholders and decision-makers in African mining. The safety of South African miners is under the microscope after last week’s incident when more than 950 workers were trapped for two nights at Sibanye-Stillwater's Beatrix gold mine in Free State after a power outage. There were no fatalities and all workers were rescued uninjured.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba, chief executive of Chamber of Mines Roger Baxter said that the industry was investing time and money, and putting a lot of measures to mitigate deaths at the mines. He said the industry’s efforts were led by its "Zero Harm" programme chaired by Anglo American Platinum CEO, Chris Griffith.

Zwane will seek to promote South Africa's mineral wealth and competitiveness but has his job cut out for him amid policy uncertainty and looming job losses due to the economic downturn.

The industry's application to review the implementation of the contentious Reviewed Mining Charter is set to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court on February 19 to 21.

-- African News Agency (ANA)