South Africa Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe on Friday said the priority remains to restore ventilation at the Gloria mine, in Mpumalanga, and to reduce flammable gases underground so that the search and recovery process can continue with the necessary speed.
He also called for security at mines to be enhanced in order to effectively address illegal mining.
The Minister visited the mine, which was previously owned by the Gupta family and went into business rescue late last year, on Friday after a further seven bodies were discovered on Thursday.
Earlier this month, more than 40 people had accessed the shafts at the mine, allegedly to steal copper cables, but a gas explosion had left more than 20 people trapped.
Five bodies have already been recovered and work to retrieve the seven bodies discovered on Thursday will only continue once power and ventilation have been restored, and the levels of flammable gases underground have been reduced to manageable levels.
“The work to retrieve the bodies found at Gloria mine is quite complex but it must be allowed to continue so that there can be closure on this matter. The business rescue for Optimum, Koornfontein and the other operations must also continue at a faster pace than is currently unfolding, so the mine can get back to operation and get the local economy going again,” the Minister said.
The proto teams continue to assess the gas levels underground, and work is expected to continue on Saturday.source: Creamer Media