SA copper mine fire kills five miners

Published: July 16, 2018 11:32:59 | Updated: July 19, 2018 15:35:20

Excavators and drillers at work in an open pit at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine northwest of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, January 29, 2013 – Reuters file photo used for representation

Five miners died in a fire at a South African copper mine operated by unlisted Palabora Mining Company, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

Safety is a huge issue in South Africa’s deep and dangerous mines and increasingly a focus for investors.

A spate of deaths at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations, including a seismic event that killed seven miners in early May, has highlighted the risks they face, says a Reuters report.

Palabora said the latest incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday at one of its underground conveyer belts, and that mine management, government officials and organised labour were on the scene investigating.

South Africa is not a major copper producer and most fatal accidents occur in its deep-level gold and platinum mines.

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