'Criminals behind explosion'

HARMONY Gold Mining yesterday hinted that criminal miners might have been behind last week's explosion at its Phakisa mine in Free State.

HARMONY Gold Mining yesterday hinted that criminal miners might have been behind last week's explosion at its Phakisa mine in Free State.

The company yesterday said a fourth member of the Mines Rescue Services team who was hurt in the explosion has died.

Three other members of the specialised proto team lost their lives in the explosion last Thursday night. Harmony said a fifth team member is in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

The proto team was attending to a fire on 66 Level, some 2013 metres below surface.

Harmony chief executive Graham Briggs said while the cause of the explosion was not yet known, he was extremely concerned to have been informed that, while work was being done to restore ventilation to 66 Level, "booby trap" explosive devices (similar to those made by criminal miners) had been discovered some 900 metres from the accident scene.

Briggs said the company was doing everything in its power to rid its mines of criminal miners, with the assistance of the Department of Mineral Resources and the SAPS. The proto team comprised volunteer members of a highly trained, experienced corps of mine rescue workers, extremely knowledgeable about mine safety standards. - I-Net Bridge

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