13 trapped underground as South African gold mine collapses following natural disaster

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Four workers at Sibanye-Stillwater's Masakhane mine in Driefontein, who were among 13 employees trapped following seismic events on Thursday have died, the company said on Friday.

Sibanye-Stillwater said six other employees were in hospital, and efforts were continuing to locate three workers still unaccounted for.

A total of 13 people were initially trapped.

"Management of Sibanye-Stillwater wishes to express its honest condolences to friends and family of the four deceased employees", the company said.

Sibanye shares fell 4.1% in Johannesburg, extending this year's decline to 29%.

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It called for "more serious intervention" to take place at Sibanye Stillwater operations in South Africa.

"The gold sector has seen an increase in fatalities this year‚ with Sibanye-Stillwater as one of the main contributors". The Department of Mineral Resources and all unions have been notified and are on site to assist with the rescue efforts.

One employee was fatally injured at the Driefontein operations on February 12 and two employees fatally injured at the Kloof operations on February 7. In February, almost 1,000 workers spent more than a day trapped underground at Sibanye's Beatrix mine, after a severe storm collapsed power lines supplying the operation.

His spokesperson Ayanda Shezi says: "The minister is urging the companies to priorities the issues of health and safety for mine workers, instead of focusing on production at the expense of the mineworkers' safety".

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