Johannesburg, 11 May 2018: Further to the announcement on 7 May 2018, regarding the tragic seismic incident at the Masakhane mine, Driefontein operations, Sibanye-Stillwater (Tickers JSE: SGL and NYSE: SBGL - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F3Fgg9xMOY&t=4s ) is pleased to report that one of the six employees who was hospitalised due the incident, has been discharged and is in good health. The other five rescued employees remain in a stable condition and are making good progress. The Company will continue to ensure that these employees receive appropriate medical attention and ongoing support and counselling.
Sibanye-Stillwater management has been focused over the course of the past week on ensuring the wellbeing and providing support to the families, friends and colleagues of the deceased and injured employees. A well-attended memorial service involving the Minister of Mineral Resources, the Sibanye-Stillwater Board, management and union leaders was held at Driefontein yesterday, with funeral and remembrance services for the deceased employees, scheduled for the coming weekend.
Sibanye-Stillwater management will be conducting a thorough investigation across the entire Masakhane mine, in order to assess the impact on the operations, of the numerous seismic events that occurred during the last week.
The underground inspection is expected to take approximately one week, and operations at the Masakhane mine will remain suspended during this period. Production from the rest of the mines making up the Driefontein operations will continue as normal.
Planned gold production from the Driefontein operations is approximately 50kg of gold per day, with the Masakhane mine comprising approximately 20% or 11kg (354oz) per day. Since the incident occurred on Thursday 3 May 2018, approximately 230kg (7,395oz) of planned gold production is estimated to have been lost. In 2017 Sibanye-Stillwater’s SA Gold operations produced 43,634kg (1.4 million oz) of gold.
Background on the incident:
A mine rescue team had already been deployed and was making its way underground, when an unrelated second seismic event (recording a local magnitude of 2.2) occurred at about 13:20, on the eastern side of the Masakhane mine approximately 2.5km away from the first event.
Although of a lower magnitude than the first event, the second seismic event caused a working stope (40 level,-27 East, 7 West panel), which was close to the epicentre of the seismic event to be inundated with loose rocks, trapping 13 employees working in the stope. No other stopes in the mine were affected and all remaining employees at Driefontein were safely evacuated from the underground operations.
Shortly after the incident, rescue efforts began in earnest. All relevant stakeholders including the DMR and unions were alerted about the incident and once the missing employees had been identified, efforts to contact their families were made. The families were offered transport to the mine, where they received regular updates on the rescue mission, and support, trauma counselling and medical care.
Specially trained rescue teams from Mine Rescue Services, supported by Sibanye-Stillwater employees and guided by management in the emergency control room, worked relentlessly in extremely challenging conditions, for more than 40 hours to rescue and recover the missing employees, with the last employee being recovered at about 07:30 on Saturday 5 May 2018. The fact that there were no further injuries despite the trying conditions, is testament to the training and commitment of these teams. We would like to thank all of the Mine Rescue Services brigadesmen from across the SA Mining industry, who volunteered for this essential service. A special note of appreciation goes to our own employees who volunteered and worked non-stop through the entire rescue period alongside the Mine Rescue Services brigadesmen. You are all true heroes.
Blasting operations were suspended across the Driefontein operations following the seismic event. Blasting operations subsequently resumed at the unaffected Driefontein mines on Saturday, 5 May 2018.
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FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
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