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3,200 South African gold miners trapped

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Some 3,200 miners were trapped underground on Wednesday at a South African mine belonging to the world’s fifth biggest gold producer, the Harmony Gold company said.

Harmony spokeswoman Amelia Soares said the workers at the Elandsrand mine were trapped about 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) after an electrical cable of a lift carrying workers to the surface snapped at around 0800 GMT (4 p.m. EDT) on Wednesday.

“They were underground when the accident happened and they were not able to surface because an electric feeder cable that is connected to the mine lift was severed,” she said.safrica.jpg

Soares said mine engineers were trying to retrieve the workers by lowering an adjacent lift to their position. She said the rescue operation could last well into Thursday morning, as it may only be possible to lift out a few hundred at a time.

Production at Elandsrand had halted for the day and would remain so on Thursday, she said.

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s mining union said on Wednesday it was concerned that 3,200 workers trapped underground at a gold mine near the capital could be suffocating after it was unable to make contact with them.

A spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers said the miners had spent almost a day in a cramped underground space where temperatures could reach 30 to 40 Celsius (86-104 Fahrenheit.

“We are very worried because … they might be suffocating,” spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said. “There is no contact at the moment. That is our greatest worry.”

Source: Rueters 

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