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Found 7 results

  1. A rescued miner gestures out a bus window carrying some of the hundreds of miners rescued from the Beatrix gold mine shaft number 3 where nearly 1,000 miners were trapped underground following a power outage- AFP THEUNISSEN (Afrique du Sud): All 955 gold miners who were trapped underground for more than a day in South Africa following a power cut resurfaced unharmed on Friday, and were greeted by overjoyed relatives waiting at the site. "Everybody's out," mine spokesman James Wellsted told AFP, adding that there were no deaths or serious injuries reported. There were "cases of dehydration and high blood pressure but nothing serious", he said. The miners were stuck in the Beatrix gold mine, in the small town of Theunissen near the city of Welkom, for around 30 hours after a massive power outage caused by a storm prevented lifts from bringing workers on the night shift to the surface. After several hours engineers were able to restore power, allowing the hoist to bring up the miners -- who had been trapped since Wednesday evening -- in batches. The workers were all brought to the surface within two hours. "It was stressful, there was not enough ventilation," said mineworker Mike Khonto. "Thankfully our management managed to send us food and water." Wellsted said there was "no indication so far that anyone has been in distress", although it was a "traumatic experience". A young woman, who spent the night anxiously waiting near the mine for news of her uncle, could not hide her joy. "We are relieved," she told AFP, without giving her name. She had been among a group of miners' relatives who gathered along the road leading to the shaft, and who were kept at a distance by security guards as they awaited developments. Several ambulances arrived on-site overnight, said an AFP reporter at the scene. 'Utterly unacceptable' At sunrise, the rescued workers still in their work suits and helmets underwent medical check-ups and left by bus. Despite the relief, the accident at Beatrix mine in Free State province, 290 kilometres (180 miles) southwest of Johannesburg, has reignited safety concerns at South African mines. "We could have prevented it," said one mineworker who asked not to be named. "They should have had some generators that were working. Security is the least of their worries. They only care about production," said the worker. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called on mineworkers to refuse to work in "dangerous conditions". "Major multinational corporations like Sibanye-Stillwater which should be industry leaders in creating a safety culture are doing far too little to prevent accidents," the union said in a statement overnight. A parliamentary committee on mining expressed outrage at the incident, calling for "drastic" action against the company. It condemned as "utterly unacceptable" the lack of a backup plan to bring the workers to the surface. The lawmakers on the committee called for "drastic actions to such acts of carelessness, including exploring possibilities of laying criminal charges against the management for attempted murder". But mine spokesman Wellsted told AFP that "this was a very unusual event. The generators were affected by the storm." - Depleting reserves - Another group, the powerful National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), said the mine should remain closed until a full investigation is conducted. "They should not be allowed to operate until they can guarantee the safety of workers," NUMSA said in a statement. Last August five mineworkers died after sections of a gold mine collapsed outside Johannesburg. The country possesses rich mineral reserves and has some of the world's deepest gold mines. Gold was for many decades the backbone of South Africa's economy, but production has declined sharply due to depletion of reserves.
  2. Miners work deep underground at Sibanye Gold's Masimthembe shaft in Westonaria, South Africa, April 3, 2017. Photo: Reuters/File JOHANNESBURG: About 950 gold miners were stuck underground in South Africa on Thursday after a power cut, the mine?s owner said, though the workers were not reported to be in immediate danger. The Sibanye-Stillwater mining company said a massive power outage had prevented lifts from bringing the night shift to the surface at the Beatrix gold mine, near the city of Welkom. ?We sent rescue teams down, accounted for all the people and we obviously are trying to get them out of there as soon as possible,? James Wellsted, spokesperson for Sibanye-Stillwater, told ENCA television. ?All employees appear to be fine. We are supplying food and water,? Wellsted added in a telephone message to AFP. He said the depth where the miners were trapped was uncertain, but the mine has 23 levels, going down to about 1,000 metres below ground. About 65 people were rescued during the day, with 950 remaining trapped by early evening, the company said. Wellsted said that engineers were struggling to get emergency generators to operate and re-start the lifts. ?We are having some issues ? probably related to the power surge linked to the storm ? in getting the winders working, so we are busy working on that issue at the moment,? he added. ?Last night there was a severe storm in the Free State that affected two different power cables... and cut off all electricity supply to the mine, so we were unable to bring the night shift up.? One cable was restored during the day. ?Serious concern? The Beatrix mine is in Free State province, 290 kilometres southwest of Johannesburg. AMCU, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, said that the workers stuck underground were facing major health and safety risks. ?AMCU views this incident as extreme due to the sheer number of workers involved,? it said in a statement. ?The incident raises serious concern regarding the lacking emergency contingency plans at the mine for alternative and back-up power generation.? It said workers? lives could be in danger from dehydration and lack of nutrition, especially if they were on medication. Last August, five mineworkers died after sections of a gold mine collapsed outside Johannesburg. The country possesses rich mineral reserves and has some of the world?s deepest gold mines. Gold was for many decades the backbone of South Africa?s economy, but production has declined sharply due to depletion of reserves.
  3. QUETTA: Bodies of six miners have been recovered since yesterday after parts of a coalmine collapsed in Balochistan's Harnai district on Thursday night. Chief Inspector Mines Iftikhar Ahmed said that efforts to rescue the remaining two miners trapped inside are underway. He has also ordered an investigation in the incident. Ahmed said a landslide occurred at two spots at the Sharig Coal Mine in Harnai on Thursday night, trapping two miners inside. Six other miners then proceeded to rescue their colleagues but got trapped themselves. Rescue staff said that there is little possibility the miners are still alive. Body of one miner was recovered on Friday while another was rescued in an injured state. Last month, media reports said that three coal miners were killed after poisonous gas accumulated inside a coal mine in Harnai.
  4. Turkish soldiers stand guard as rescue workers work after six miners were killed inside a collapsed coal mine in Sirnak in southeast Turkey, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. Photo: AP DIYARBAKIR: Seven miners were killed and another was missing after part of a coal mine in Turkey?s southeastern province of Sirnak collapsed on Tuesday, government spokesman Bekir Bozdag said. Search and rescue teams were looking for the missing worker who was trapped at the site. Turkey?s energy ministry said the coal mine was unlicensed and had been operating illegally. ?The activities of the mining field in Sirnak where the accident took place were stopped by the General Directorate of Mining Affairs in 2013 because it carried operational and security risks,? the energy ministry said. Workplace accidents are not unusual in Turkey. Its rapid growth over the past decade has seen a construction boom and a scramble to meet soaring energy and commodities demand, with worker safety standards often failing to keep pace. Its worst ever mining disaster took place in May 2014 in the western town of Soma, where 301 workers were killed.
  5. NEW YORK: Digital currency bitcoin on Friday averted a split into two currencies after its network supported an upgrade to its software that would enhance its ability to process an increasing number of transactions. Bitcoin's miners have signalled their support for the so-called Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 91, avoiding a split of bitcoin into two blockchains. The miners represent a network of computer operators who secure the blockchain or a public ledger of all bitcoin transactions BIP 91 is the first step toward a larger effort to upgrade bitcoin through a software called SegWit2x. On Friday, the support for BIP 91 reached nearly 100 percent, exceeding the required threshold of 80 percent, according to analysts and market participants. Some investors have warmed to bitcoin, wooed by its explosive performance and potential to compete with gold and government-issued money as a means to store value. Demand for bitcoin has grown in eight years to a market capitalization of more than $40 billion. But fears about the bitcoin split dampened demand for bitcoin in recent weeks. After hitting a record high near $3,000, bitcoin dropped as low $1,830 BTC=BTSP on the Bitstamp platform. On Friday, it traded at $2,647. The software upgrade attempts to address the bitcoin network's limitations in processing millions of daily transactions. Bitcoin's network has not kept pace with its growth and is unable to process all the transactions fast enough. "BIP 91 unleashes the next wave of innovation because it has been a little bit stagnant of late for bitcoin," said Rob Viglione, co-founder of ZenCash, a digital coin focused on privacy and security. Before BIP 91's endorsement, some bitcoin investors feared it could split into two independent currencies because core developers of the network and the miners each wanted different ways to increase bitcoin's scale. A compromise between the two groups has been reached through SegWit2x. "Bitcoin now has a clear run to add features that allow for faster transactions with lower costs," said Charles Hayter, chief executive officer of digital currency analytics firm Cryptocompare. The upgrade to bitcoin's network will not occur until autumn, said Viglione, because several things need to happen before the new software is activated. Market participants have complained about the delay in transactions. Analysts say a single bitcoin transaction costs on average 83 US cents to execute, which means micropayments are not feasible on the network. The network is also limited to roughly seven transactions per second. In comparison, Visa on average handles 2,000 transactions per second.
  6. Rescuers battled hazardous conditions Thursday at a coal mine in northern Iran where 26 miners died as attempts failed to save workmates trapped deep underground after an explosion. Hopes of finding nine missing miners alive were fading more than 36 hours after the blast Wednesday at the mine in Azadshahr in Golestan province, where three days of mourning were declared. The rescue operation at the Zemestan Yort mine was hampered by poisonous gases that filled the tunnels as well as by fears of a further collapse. The removal of rubble blocking the tunnel was expected to finish by the end of Thursday, state television broadcaster quoted Labour Minister Ali Rabii as saying from the site. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered condolences for the "very bitter" tragedy. "Efforts by various organisations will be rewarded (by God). They (should) increase their efforts as much as possible," he said in a message. President Hassan Rouhani also expressed sorrow for victims of the disaster, which has overshadowed his re-election campaign. Tasnim news agency quoted director of Iran's emergency services Pir Hossein Kolivand as saying that 26 bodies had been recovered from the mine. Sadegh-Ali Moghadam, emergencies director in Golestan province, had said earlier that 21 victims were found at a depth of 600 metres (yards) and rescue teams had descended 1,400 metres into the tunnel where the blast happened. The hope of finding the remaining miners alive "is now minimal," he told state IRNA news agency. "The problem is the upper arch which has been weakened by the explosion. Miners are working to secure the tunnel" to be able to move forward, he said. The tunnel caved in when methane gas exploded underground as workers tried to jump-start a locomotive engine, according to initial reports. Rouhani ordered all departments "to use all equipment available to facilitate the rescue services and save those trapped". "The painful incident involving a number of hard-working miners in the Azadshahr mine brought sorrow and mourning to all Iranian people," he said. Gas poisoning Images broadcast on state television IRIB showed the evacuation of injured and exhausted miners on stretchers as rescue services worked relentlessly at the entrance to one of the mine tunnels. The army joined forces on Thursday with rescue teams by sending medics, bulldozers and trucks. More than 70 miners were treated in hospitals for gas poisoning and injuries, state news agency IRNA reported. The workers sent to hospital were among those who had rushed from outside to help the victims after the blast. Rouhani sent Rabii along with mining and industry minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh to the mine to oversee the rescue operations, treatment of victims and lead an investigation. Rabii told IRNA that all work at the mine will be completely halted for six months until the probe is completed. "The government will undertake the payment of all workers' wages until the mine reopens," he added. The mine has 500 workers and the explosion happened during a change of shift, state media said. The issue is particularly sensitive two weeks before a presidential vote in which Rouhani hopes to win re-election. Conservative candidates have accused the government of failing to care for the poor.
  7. More than 50 miners were trapped after a huge explosion in a coal mine in northern Iran on Wednesday, and some were feared to have died, state media reported. The reports said more than a dozen injured people had been transferred to hospital after the blast at 12:45PM local time in the Zemestanyurt coal mine in Golestan province. State news agency IRNA quoted a local official as saying some of the trapped miners may have died in the explosion. A rescue operation was under way. Iran extracted 1.68 million tons of coal in 2016, an increase on previous years, thanks to an easing of international sanctions. It exports only a fraction of the coal and uses most of it in domestic steel production.