Almost 500 miners trapped underground at Carletonville mine by a fire

Johannesburg - Bullion producer Harmony Gold [HAR:JSE] said on Sunday that there had been an underground fire at its Kusasalethu mine, which is believed to have started during maintenance work on a bulk air cooler.

"I can confirm that the fire has occurred but the fire has now been contained," spokesperson Marian van der Walt said, reported Reuters.

"Specially trained mine rescue teams have been deployed underground at the company’s Kusasalethu gold mine near Carletonville to rescue some 486 workers who were working underground when a fire started on the mine’s 75 level, approximately 2 300 metres below surface, at around 09:40 this morning (Sunday)," the mine said in a statement.
 
"At present, some 287 of the 486 workers are confirmed to be safe in refuge bays underground, which are supplied with fresh air, water and telephone communication to surface.

It said that mine rescue teams are working to assist those in refuge bays and to locate the other workers.

"A further six mine rescue teams have been called out and are expected to be deployed on arrival at the mine to assist with the rescue."
 
Operations at the mine have been suspended.