An employee died following an accident at the Gold One’s Modder East mine in Springs, Gauteng, which saw the employee crushed in a scaler.
The incident was confirmed by the Mineral Resources and Energy Department and said the employee’s body was retrieved and handed over to the police.
“The department is aware of the accident and is investigating it in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act. It would be premature to speculate on causes at this stage,” said Mineral Resources and Energy spokesperson Ayanda Shezi.
A source with knowledge of the mine had indicated that the employee would not be deemed essential worker under regulations in place due to the national lockdown. However, this was not confirmed by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
Under the national lockdown, the department issued guidelines to mines to manage and reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread. These include reducing the number of employees on shift and on common transport.
Mining operations had been scaled down significantly, particularly deep-level mining, including the gold, chrome and manganese sectors.
Only essential services supporting the sector, including security and related infrastructure, maintenance, water pumping, refrigeration and ventilation will continue.
The only mines exempt were those essential to energy production, such as those supplying coal to Eskom.
There were currently three confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the mining and energy sectors – one each in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.