87 rescued, 3 missing after South Africa mine collapse

Rescue vehicles stand by at the scene of the Lily mine collapse near Barberton
Ambulances stand by at the scene of the Lily mine collapse near Barberton. Photo Courtesy of Reuters


Around 90 miners have been rescued after the gold mine they were working in collapsed in the northeastern region of South Africa, though three miners are still missing, Reuters news agency reports the firm that owns the mine as saying.

The collapse at the mine’s main entrance trapped 87 workers underground, all of whom were rescued, Vantage Goldfields (VTGFF.PK) said in a statement. However, three others who had been working on the surface at the time of the collapse could not be accounted for.

No fatalities were reported. However, there was confusion regarding the number of workers involved.

“As we speak they might already all be out. Most have been evacuated,” Mike McChesney, chief executive of the small gold producer told Reuters by telephone from the mine in Barbeton town in Mpumalanga province about 360 kilometers (225 miles) east of Johannesburg.

South Africa’s mines are reported to be the deepest and among the most dangerous in the world. Fatalities in the industry have however been falling due to both improved safety practices and a reduction in the labor force as production declines.

Vantage Goldfields is an Australia-based company mining gold at Barberton, a town that traces its origin in the country’s 19th century gold rush. Vantage was delisted from the Australian bourse in January 2015.