October 5, 2007 | Mark Paradies

South Africa Gold Mine Accident Shuts Down Mine

Over 3,200 miners were trapped in a mine for about a day when  a 15 meter compressed pipe column broke off below the shaft surface bank and fell to the bottom of the shaft, cutting the power supply to the men-and-materials shaft used to hoist workers to the surface.

The Elandsrand Mine operates a two-shaft system and an auxiliary mine lift had been configured to hoist mine workers through the rock-and-ventilation shaft.

Department of Minerals and Energy spokesperson, Bontle Mafuna, said that Harmony (the mine’s owner) had announced that operations at the mine would be halted for three to six weeks while and investigation is conducted by the Department of Minerals and Energy.However, the spokesperson said that the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Buyelwa Sonjica, would have ordered the owners to close the mine anyway.

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