Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Lily Mine accident wherein three employees lost their lives in the tragic accident at the Barbeton, Mpumalanga based mine.
“The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy would like to convey our sadness in commemorating the loss of Ms Yvonne Mnisi, Ms Pretty Nkambule and Mr Solomon Nyirenda.”
The three were trapped when the lamp-room container they were working in collapsed in a fall-of-ground accident in 2016. Rescue efforts after the accident were hampered by subsequent tremors following the accident, which have made the area completely inaccessible.
The department completed the inquiry into the cause of the accident in terms of section 65(1) of the Mine Health and Safety Act No 29 of 1996.
The report was submitted to the Director for Public Prosecutions in August 2018. An administrative fine of R1 million was issued in September 2020, to Vantage Goldfields (Pty) Ltd as per the recommendation of the inquiry report.
“The department is greatly concerned with the prolonged business rescue process. In this regard, there were several meetings that the department held with the business rescue practitioner, prospective new owners, families, and the current mine owners which is Vantage Goldfields (Pty) Ltd to monitor progress of the business rescue process.”
In addition, the department has written a letter to the non-executive chairperson of Vantage Goldfields Limited expressing concerns regarding the prolonged business rescue process.
“The chairperson subsequently responded to the effect that the company has decided to re-finance their subsidiary and their initial focus will be on the retrieval of the employees.
“We will continually update the families on the business rescue process. Since Lily Mine was closed, hundreds of employees have lost their jobs. Further, many workers have lost due to the current pandemic, and it would be in the interests of the greater community for the mine to be re-opened as soon as possible,” said the department.