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‘Preparedness saved miners’

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The miners who were trapped for nearly 20 hours, 100 metres underground at Mimosa Mine in Zvishavane on Monday were saved by the mine’s high state of emergency preparedness, mine management said last night.

Managing director of the mine, Winston Chitando, said the workers and management had executed “with precision” the mine’s safety and evacuation procedures to save the trapped miners, believed to have been about 75.

The last miner was rescued at around 2pm and there were no injuries, Chitando said.

The miners were trapped underground after a bearing collapsed, resulting in fire breaking out and igniting the conveyor belt.

Chitando said the fire had been successfully extinguished by yesterday.

The exact figure of the miners that were trapped during the 20-hour nightmare had not been released last night, with figures ranging from 75 to 178 being thrown around by workers at the mine.

Chitando said operations at the stricken mine were expected to commence on Monday, but production would be at 70% capacity for the first 19 days.

“It is anticipated that for the first 19 days, mining output will be at an average of 70% of normal production increasing to 100% of normal production by Monday 18th of June 2012,” Chitando said in a statement.

He said production loss of 75 000 tonnes of ore was expected because of the mishap, but added the loss would be more than covered by the current surface stockpile of about 140 000 tonnes.
“As a result, production of platinum ounces for the month and the quarter will not be affected and is expected to be on budget,” Chitando said.

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