486 people rescued from fire at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu gold mine

22 February 2015 (Last Updated February 22nd, 2015 18:30)

South African mining company Harmony Gold has rescued 486 mining workers who were trapped underground at Kusasalethu mine, following an accident.

South African mining company Harmony Gold has rescued 486 mining workers who were trapped underground at Kusasalethu mine, following an accident.

According to the company, a fire broke out during maintenance work on a bulk air cooler on level 75, about 2,300m below ground, which was being contained by mine rescue teams.

Ventilation flow to the fire has been sealed off at the mine.

The company's update stated that all employees in Kusasalethu mine have been safely brought to the surface.

"This is to the credit of our systems, employees, the unions and mine management who have worked tirelessly over the past 12 hours."

Harmony Gold CEO Graham Briggs said: "We are extremely grateful that all of our colleagues have been brought to surface, without injury.

"This is to the credit of our systems, employees, the unions and mine management who have worked tirelessly over the past 12 hours. I also want to extend our thanks to mine rescue services for their efforts."

The company will conduct joint investigations into the cause of the fire with the Department of Mineral Resources and mine management.

Kusasalethu is a gold mine located on the West Wits Line near Carletonville, Gauteng, South Africa, and 7km west of Johannesburg.

The mine is the amalgamation of the Deelkraal mine and Elandsrand mines, bought from AngloGold in 2001 in a transaction worth ZAR1bn ($86m).