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So. Africa: Unions accuse Sibanye Gold Mine of poor health and safety standards after more than 950 miners were trapped for more than 24hours underground

Author: Daily Maverick (South Africa), Published on: 4 February 2018

"South Africa unions demand answers after miners trapped", 2 Feb 2018

Some 955 gold miners were rescued on Friday morning after being trapped underground for more than 24 hours following a power cut...They had been stuck a kilometre underground at The Sibanye Stillwater Beatrix Mine in Welkom for two nights, and were finally rescued when the power returned to the mine...The Nation Union of Mineworkers in South Africa (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa (NUMSA) said the mine should temporarily cease operations. "The mine should be closed for now, until the health and safety measures are put in place," said Livhuwani Mammburu, NUM spokesperson. "When there is a power failure, generators are supposed to kick in. Our sense is that the generators were not properly maintained and this company seems to be relaxed about health and safety,"...James Wellsted, Sibanye spokesperson, told Al Jazeera that the miners were technically "never trapped". Wellsted said miners had the option of walking 4km to an escape shaft that remained operational, but management decided against using this potentially risky route...The National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa (NUMSA) spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola told Al Jazeera a proper audit was needed to avoid similar incidents.."Power outages cannot be controlled; it happens from time to time. If they [the company] do not have the necessary equipment, then they should not be allowed to operate.".

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