Seismic incident kills four at Sibanye-Stillwater mine

FILE Sibanye-Stillwater's Masakhane mine in Driefontein

James Wellsted, the spokesman for mining operator Sibanye-Stillwater, said the deaths are linked to an natural disaster that took place at the mine on Thursday.

Four miners were killed and three others were trapped underground after an quake hit a gold mine outside Johannesburg, its owners said Friday.

He said 10 of 13 miners who were trapped have been freed and six are at hospital.

Cosatu said it was "alarmed by the deteriorating and poor safety record of Sibanye Stillwater mining company".

Sibanye-Stillwater produces more gold in South Africa than any other company. Driefontein produced 482,000 ounces of gold in 2017, accounting for about a third of Sibanye's output of the metal.

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South African gold mines are among the world's deepest and oldest, with workers going further and further underground to access new ore in a country that's been mined commercially for over a century.

The South African Department of Mineral Resources and all unions were site to assist with the rescue efforts, Sibanye said in an emailed statement earlier.

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".

One employee was fatally injured at the Driefontein operations on February 12 and two employees fatally injured at the Kloof operations on February 7.

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