It is with a heavy heart that we come back to the office today, on hearing about the Makonjwaan Lily gold mine tragedy on Friday. If you haven’t heard about the sad news then let me explain what the reports have been thus far…

What happened at Makonjwaan Lily Gold Mine?

Last week Friday (5th February 2016) Lily gold mine Lily gold mine which is owned by Vantage Goldfields, near Barberton, east of Johannesburg collapsed after one of the underground mine shaft pillars caved in, trapping over 80 miners underground. In addition to the trapped miners, 3 people believed to be non-miners, are still missing. The collapse created a sinkhole that swallowed a mobile office container containing 2 women and a man. [Read more

Rescue efforts at Makonjwaan Lily Gold Mine:

All 87 miners who were underground during the collapse were rescued but the 3 people in the mobile office container are still missing.

The Ministry of Mineral Resource’s Martin Madlala said officials have doubled their efforts in rescuing those still trapped. []

A Mine Manager confirmed that rescue teams have removed 3 500 tons of debris in their search for the 3 people still trapped underground. [Read more]

Current status at Makonjwaan Lily Gold Mine:

Rescue workers have identified the exact location where 3 people are believed to be trapped underground at the Lily Gold Mine.

The rescued miners had sustained minor to moderate injuries ranging from breathing difficulties to lacerations.

How can incidents like this be avoided?

The mining sector is a high risk industry that is constantly faced with health and safety dangers. Like any profession that has a health and safety risk, one needs to adhere to the health & safety protocols very strictly. Chairperson of the portfolio committee on Mineral Resources, Sahlulele Luzipo, said there seems to be a challenge of safety in the sector that can in fact, in many cases, be avoided.

The safety records in South Africa’s gold mines have been reportedly improving and if so, then it is great to hear that the health and safety of our miners are being invested in. []

The importance of adhering to safety standards can be highlighted in this short video clip below, which I shared on our Facebook page:


The question is, can more be done…?