*Update 4* Merger talks between Toronto-listed Galane Gold and Vantage Goldfields that were aimed at reviving production at Lily Mine in Mpumalanga have collapsed. Read more here: https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/energy/yet-another-devastating-blow-for-lily-mine-10798386
*Update 3* The families of the three trapped Lily mineworkers have each been paid a lump sum of R200 000. Read more here: https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/families-of-trapped-lily-mine-workers-each-paid-r200-000-cosatu-20170517
*Update 1* Lily Mine management are trying to silence critics who have brought new evidence forward exposing managements failures. We're working with Social Mining Coalition to ensure truth and justice and achieved. Read more here: http://www.amandla.mobi/lily-mine-update
Millions of people from across the world have been following the story of the Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Mabuza, and Solomon Nyarenda who are still trapped underground following a collapse at Lily Gold Mine in the Mpumalanga Province. Months since the incident and numerous interruptions to the rescue mission, calls for an independent investigation into the cause of the collapse need urgent attention.
Demands for a state lead public inquiry
- Mining experts advise that no surface installation should be placed above a crown pillar; the company needs to explain why they placed the container above the crown pillar; (http://www.minewiki.org/Statement in Support of a Renewed Call for a Public Inquiry into the Lily Mine Disaster
- It is more than 6 months and the bodies of Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Mabuza, and Solomon Nyarende still lie buried less than 100m below the surface at Lily mine. Workers have been permanently disabled on the mines at the rate of 25 per day, from 1900 to date, a total of more than 1 million workers. More workers have already died this year than died last year.
- Section 65 of the Mine Health and Safety Act says: ‘...the Chief Inspector of Mines must direct an inspector to conduct an inquiry into any accident or occurrence at a mine that results in the death of any person.’.
- Despite this, the Public-State Inquiry has not happened. Not only that, but none of the families nor surviving workers received compensation from Lily Mine nor the government!
- The International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences report states that there is a sequence of up to a year before a collapse of a crown pillar. Lily Mine needs to answer on the sequence before the collapse of the crown pillar. (Geotechnical precursors to large-scale ground collapse in mines (T Szwedzicki in The International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, Oct 2001).
- Lily Vantage Mine [MIMCO] has tried to intimidate reporters and academics from commenting critically on the disaster. They reported journalist Don Makatile to the Press Ombudsman for his 19th June 2016 exposure on the mine in the Sunday Independent. They also wrote to CPUT to demand that activist and academic Shaheed Mahomed be disciplined for his comments in the article and the exposure.
We the undersigned demand and declare the following:
1. The families of the 3 mineworkers must be immediately and properly compensated, as well as all affected mineworkers. Urgent steps must taken to [including remote and camera methods] recover the bodies of our 3 mineworkers so they can have a funeral;
2. Government departments and the Lily Vantage mine management or MIMCO must immediately make public all geotechnical, surveying and related reports on the mine;
3. Urgent steps must be taken to strengthen regulations on mine health and safety, including the enforcing of early detection and preventative measures, as well as developing a workable rescue plan in the case of large scale land subsidence cave ins;
4. We condemn the attempts by the Lily Vantage Mine bosses [MIMCO] to threaten, intimidate or harass the media, academics and activists from speaking on the disaster;
5. We call for a Public-State Inquiry as provided in the Mine Health and Safety Act above;
6. We also call for an alternative, independent Public Interest Commission [PIC] of Inquiry convened by civil society, which will hear evidence from workers and experts on the Lily mine disaster. This is a significant step forward for the non-elite majority in our country, to exercise direct roles in and responsibility for equality, lives, health and safety.
Dear Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane,
We, the undersigned, call on you to launch an independent and full inquiry into the cause of the collapse at Lily Gold Mine. We call on you to act urgently and decisively so that the families, friends and fellow workers of Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyerende who remain trapped in the container in which they were working, can know what has caused the collapse.
We also call on you to compensate the workers who were rescued and the families of the missing mineworkers.
We call on you to look into the general health and safety conditions at the mine, and to identify any evidence of negligence. Workers should not be subjected to dangerous working conditions.