JSE-listed Sibanye Gold on Wednesday said fire broke out at Beatrix 4 Shaft (formerly the Oryx Mine), at 10pm yesterday and underground operations had been suspended.
Beatrix 4 Shaft produces approximately 218kg (7 011oz) of gold per month or 24 percent of the total produced by the entire Beatrix Operations (approximately 898kg or 28 869oz per month).
The Beatrix 4 Shaft Section generated an Operating Loss of R93 million (a R155 million loss after capex) in 2012.
However, Sibanye said Beatrix management with the assistance of its mine rescue teams managed to successfully contain the affected areas and evacuated the entire mine by 7am today.
No injuries were reported and no employees were exposed to undue danger.
Commenting on the incident, Neal Froneman, the CEO of Sibanye Gold, said: “Beatrix…did an excellent job isolating the area impacted by the fire and safely evacuating all employees from the mine, without any injuries being caused.”
“As you can imagine, successfully completing this exercise in the early hours of the morning, under the dangerous conditions prevailing, is an admirable achievement and I wish to thank and congratulate all involved,” Froneman said.
But the fire had not yet been extinguished today afternoon and it was also not clear how much damage had been caused.
While high levels of smoke and gas remained in the mine, the company had decided to suspend underground operations at Beatrix 4 Shaft.
“We are assessing the situation and bringing the fire under control,” added Froneman.