From the news desk

Kusasalethu mine closed after fire

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Work at the Kusasalethu gold mine has been suspended after an underground fire, Harmony Gold Mining Company said on Monday.

“The investigation into the fire has started. Operations are temporarily suspended but essential services are running,” spokeswoman Charmane Russell said.

“Employees do have access to counselling after a situation like this. Everyone was evacuated on Sunday and no injuries were reported.”

An update would be provided later on Monday.

Harmony Gold and the mineral resources department would conduct a joint investigation into the fire, at the mine near Carletonville. All 486 employees underground at the time were brought to the surface safely.

“We are extremely grateful that all of our colleagues have been brought to surface, without injury,” CEO Graham Briggs said in a statement on Sunday.

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

All employees would be sent for observation to make sure they were physically healthy.

The fire started at the mine’s 75 level, approximately 2300m below surface, around 9.40am on Sunday. It had since been contained.

Some of the miners used refuge bays which had fresh air, water and telephone communication to surface.

The fire was believed to have started during maintenance work on a bulk air cooler. SAPA

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