And the South African Reserve Bank supports gold price suppression


About 10 Workers Trapped in South African Gold Mine

By James Macharia
Saturday, June 20, 2009

JOHANNESBURG -- About 10 workers were trapped underground after a tunnel caved in at a mine owned by South Africa's Gold Fields, the world's fourth-biggest gold producer, a miners' union said on Saturday.

Teams were trying to rescue the workers at Driefontein, Africa's biggest gold mine, near Johannesburg, after the incident on Saturday morning, said Lesiba Seshoka, a spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers.

"An estimated 10 mineworkers are currently trapped underground at Gold Fields Driefontein mine's No. 5 shaft after a fall of ground," he said.

South Africa, which has the world's deepest gold mines, has a dire safety record. Last year 168 miners died in accidents and the government has resorted to shutting down mines temporarily whenever there is a fatality.

About 80 workers have died in mines so far this year.

Marritt Claassens, Gold Fields' spokeswoman, said the fall of ground was caused by a seismic event or earth tremor, but could not confirm how many workers were trapped or whether production at the shaft or mine had been suspended.

Driefontein Mine was hit by a tremor last Saturday, which led to the death of two miners. Part of it was closed for investigations. It consists of several shafts and produced 928,000 ounces of gold in 2008.

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