Earthquake Cause Harmony South African Gold Mine Underground Fire

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(Reuters) – Underground fire caused by an earthquake and rock-fall in Doornkop gold mine west Johannesburg, owned by Harmony Gold, trapped 17 miner, 8 were rescued and 9 still unaccounted for.

An earthquake of 2.4 magnitude tremor caused rocks to fall and a fire to break out 1,733 meters below the surface on Tuesday, Harmony Gold spokesman James Duncan  and the National Union of Mineworkers said on Wednesday. Chief Executive Graham Briggs after flying to Johannesburg said that 139 were underground and 35 people were in the affected area.

Emergency workers rescued 8 miners from the underground gold mine on Wednesday, while 9 others are still missing. All the rescued miners walked comfortably and is to stay under observation for the next 24 hours. Search and rescue operations are still underway to locate the missing miners.

Gold mines in South Africa are the deepest and the most dangerous in the world. 112 were killed during mining operations in South Africa despite attempts to improve safety. In 2009, at least 82 miners died in a Harmony Gold mine after similar underground fire.