Vantage Goldfields said that efforts to recover three mineworkers who were trapped underground at Lily mine in Mpumalanga, South Africa, may take six months.

Vantage Goldfields CEO Mike McChesney told media sources that it would take time to retrieve the container where the miners were trapped, due to the complexities of the operation.

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On 5 February 2016, a portion of Lily mine collapsed and trapped the miners underground in a lamproom in a container.

The miners fell into an 80m deep sink hole and efforts to rescue them were hampered due to rock falls.

A second route was completed, but was believed to be too dangerous to let people go underground, due to which rescue operation was suspended.

"The miners fell into an 80m deep sink hole and efforts to rescue them were hampered due to rock falls."

McChesney said the recovery operation team at the mine was advised of a new entrance point to reach the ground mine.

The geo-technical experts advised that the entrance should be located on a stable ground away from the sinkhole, in order to prevent any further loss of lives while bringing the container to the surface.

IOL reported McChesney saying: "We have a number of university professors, heads of the country’s two mining schools on site and they both have been amazed by the complexity and the magnitude of the problem we now face."

Vantage Goldfields rescued 87 underground workers trapped after the collapse of ground at the mine safely.

Image: The miners have been trapped underground since 5 February 2016 in a lamproom. Photo: courtesy of AMCU.