Mpumalanga – Lily Gold Mine — whose three workers were trapped underground in Barberton in Mpumalanga in February 2016 when a lamp-room container they were working in fell into a sinkhole — has secured R300 million funding but will resume rescue operations next year, the company said on Monday.
Business rescue practitioner at Lily mine Rob Devereaux told the African News Agency (ANA) that the company has secured R190 million from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and R110 million from other unnamed new investors.
“We have new investors and the R300 million we have secured is enough,” said Devereaux.
“We have signed agreements but there are certain conditions that must be met before the money flows in. Once the money comes in, we will start developing a new shaft and open the mine in July. The search for the remains of the trapped miners will resume a year later for safety reasons. This is because we still have to develop a new shaft and be able to see where the container is before we can resume the search.”
The old shareholders of Lily mine were leaving the company and the new shaft would be developed by an entity called SSC Group, added Devereaux.
Lily mine workers Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule and Solomon Nyerende were trapped underground when a lamp-room container they were working in fell into a sinkhole created by a collapsed crown pillar.
Rescue operations were launched the same month in an attempt to recover the bodies of the three workers but later aborted as the mine was declared unsafe.
Lily mine, which is owned by Vantage Goldfields, subsequently applied to be placed under business rescue administration. A number of Lily mine workers have since taken voluntary severance packages and left the company.