Australia-based Vantage Goldfields has safely rescued 87 underground workers who were trapped following a collapse of ground at its Lily Mine near Barberton in South Africa.
Three other workers who had been working on the mine’s surface at the time are yet to be rescued.
The incident occurred when the main crown pillar of Lily Mine collapsed into the underground open stopes.
Vantage said that search-and-rescue teams are in place and continuing with their efforts to find the missing employees.
All operations have been suspended at the mine and investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of collapse.
Vantage has informed the Department of Mineral Resources and AMCU about the incident.
Vantage Goldfields CEO Mike McChesney said: "Our focus as management right now is on finding our colleagues."
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) discussed about the safety of the mine with the management.
AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa suggested availability of additional budget to renovate the mine, as well as its shafts to ensure a safe working environment for the employees.
Mathunjwa said: "As AMCU, we will do everything to ensure that justice is served for our comrades involved in this disaster."
The Lily Mine began as an oxide open-pit operation in 2000, which was developed as a shallow, underground operation later on.
The mine has mineral resources of 1.9 million ounces and ore reserves of 0.35 million ounces in an ore body, which extends for at least 2,000m along strike.
Image: The incident occurred when the main crown pillar of Lily Mine collapsed into the underground open stopes. Photo: courtesy of AMCU.