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South Africa
Society | Economy - Development

South African gold mines resume operations

afrol News, 17 October - South Africa's Gold Fields, world's number four gold producer has today announced that it has resumed operations at its Kloof mine after authorities shut it down early this week, following death of a miner.

Gold Fields', Africa's second largest gold producer, also restarted business at its Driefontien mine yesterday evening, after it was forced to close shop, when two workers died on Wednesday. Driefontein is Africa's biggest mine.

Group said it got government's go-ahead to resume work on both mines, located near Johannesburg.

The mines according to group chief executive officer Nick Holland were hit by tremors, which trapped workers underground, killed one and injured four others.

Mr Holland had told media last week that in past four or five quarters, group was losing an average of about 700kg a quarter due to safety stoppages, but losses had eased as safety improved.

Driefontein and Kloof are located west of Johannesburg in Witwatersrand area, which has some of world's deepest and most dangerous gold mines.

Gold Fields, Africa's biggest miner of metal after Anglo Gold Ashanti Ltd, reportedly produced 928,000 ounces at Driefontein in fiscal 2008 and 821,000 ounces at Kloof.

South Africa is said to be currently reviewing results of a mine safety audit ordered after more than 3,000 Harmony Gold Mining Co. workers were trapped underground in Elandsrand mine a year ago.

Government began suspending mining operations following fatal accidents after mine deaths rose more than 10 percent last year to an estimated 221 from a year earlier.

Gold Fields reportedly advanced R2 or 2.8 percent to R74.75 as of 2:34 p.m. in Johannesburg, giving the company a market value of R49 billion (US$4.9 billion).

Group has gold mines in South Africa, Ghana, Australia and Peru. South Africa reportedly has an appalling safety record and about 140 workers have died in mines so far this year, compared to 221 in 2007 and 200 in 2006.

Gold Fields has had worst record of deaths among mining companies, and it has vowed to cease mining if it cannot mine safely. At the time, it shut part of Driefontein for safety improvements, group also closed main shaft at its Kloof mine in South Africa for safety repairs.

South Africa has an appalling safety record with about 140 workers dead in mines so far this year, compared to 221 for whole of 2007, and 200 in 2006, reports show.

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