Efforts to retrieve bodies at Gupta-owned Gloria coal mine put on hold

The bodies of several illegal miners are believed to still be underground at the Gloria coal mine.
The bodies of several illegal miners are believed to still be underground at the Gloria coal mine.
Image: Jeremy Glyn

The bodies of nine illegal miners may still be underground at the Gupta-owned Gloria coal mine in Blinkpan, near Middelburg in Mpumalanga.

But Mike Elliot, the business rescue representative for the mine, said on Monday that efforts to retrieve the bodies had come to a halt.

“We have not recommenced with the operations as we are waiting for funding to make the things safe before we can continue,” he said.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by rockfalls and the presence of gas underground.

Some of those trapped underground were allegedly involved in stripping the non-operational mine of copper cables when a gas explosion occurred on February 6. 

Others allegedly went down the shaft after the blast in a bid to rescue those who were initially trapped.

Eighteen bodies have since been retrieved. One person was rescued alive.

The mine, which has not been operational for several months, forms part of the Optimum Coal assets bought by the Gupta family in 2016. It was put into business rescue early in 2018. 


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