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Rock burst claims female employee's life at South Deep - Mining Weekly

Monday, 3 June 2019

A 38-year-old female trackless crew leader was killed after being struck by a rock ejected from the face of Gold Fields’ South Deep mine, on Sunday, following a series of four seismic events in quick succession.

The gold miner reported that three of the seismic events were been 1.4 and 1.9 in magnitude.

The deceased employee had received immediate attention on the scene by paramedics, but succumbed to her injuries soon after the rock burst. Three other team members sustained minor injuries and have been discharged from hospital.

Gold Fields suspended operations at South Deep on Sunday out of respect for the deceased and to allow employees access to counselling.

The affected area – a corridor at a depth of 2 700 m – will remain closed until it is deemed safe. The area is expected to produce about 10% of South Deep’s planned production this year.

The Department of Mineral Resources was due to conduct an in-loco inspection on Monday.

Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland on Monday said this was Gold Fields’ first fatality this year and comes amid significant improvements in the group’s safety performance over the past five years.

He reiterated the company’s condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased.

“Safety remains the first value for our management teams at all our operations and this latest accident will expedite a review of our safety protocols and procedures to reduce the incidence of and mitigate the impact of seismic events,” Holland added. 

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