JOHANNESBURG – Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine near Carletonville in Gauteng, South Africa, is back to full production following temporary closure in August as government was investigating the cause of a seismic event that killed five workers.
Operations at the Kusasalethu mine were halted following a seismic event that resulted in a fall of ground approximately 3,100 metres below surface on 25 August.
Five employees were trapped as a result, and their bodies were recovered at least a week later. A memorial service was held for them on September 4, and they were laid to rest that weekend.
Harmony’s investor relations manager, Lauren Fourie, said on Tuesday that the mine was now back on full production although the loss on production would only be calculated later in the year.
“Throughout this process, operations were halted and only resumed following the memorial service. Since then, the mine has ramped up to full production,” Fourie said.
“Kusasalethu produces between 15 to 20 kilograms of gold per day at full production. At this stage, there is no revised guidance available. Harmony’s first quarter operating results will be published either at the end of October or the beginning of November.”
Fourie referred further questions about the investigation of the accident to the Department of Mineral Resources. But the department was not available for comment on whether it has completed its investigation and what it had found.
Briefing the media last month, Mineral ResourceS Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said that the Kusasalethu mine accident should be a “turning point” in the health and safety of the country’s mining industry.
Harmony Gold’s chairperson, Patrice Mostepe, said the company took full responsibility for the incident.
A total of 73 fatalities were reported in South African mines in 2016 compared to 77 the previous year, with the gold mines claiming 30 lives followed closely by platinum mines at 27 lives.