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Phalaborwa - The Associated Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leadership is expected to meet with management of the Phalabora Mining Company following an incident that left six mineworkers dead and a seventh one in recovery. 

The incident happened reportedly happened on Sunday morning at around 1.15am when a fire broke out at Conveyor belt 5, leaving workers trapped underground. 

According to a statement released by Amcu on Sunday, the smoke was seen by the Logistics Belt operator who then instructed the miners to evacuate the area. 

"The proto team at the mine itself was reportedly not ready to complete the rescue, and therefore another proto team from the Burgersfort area had to be called in.

"Unfortunately this team arrived late and could only start work at around 11am this morning (Sunday). They managed to recover one living and two deceased mineworkers from the mine but the high temperatures, which rose to [between] 64 and 67 degrees Celsius, made the rescue efforts impossible."

Three other miners were later found dead in the refuge chamber while the rescue team was unable to immediately recover the other mineworker. 

The death toll initially stood at five but Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa on Monday confirmed to IOL that it had risen six, explaining that the sixth miner was found dead upon recovery.

"He was recovered between last night (Sunday) and the early hours of today (Monday)," he said. 

He added that a meeting with management at the copper mine was scheduled to take place on Monday in the wake of the incident.