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South Africa gold mine gas blast injures six

23 March 2015

Six construction workers were injured in a suspected methane gas explosion at Harmony Gold's Brand One ventilation shaft in Welkom, in South Africa’s Free State province on March 21.
Matjhabeng Municipality Assistant Fire Chief Francois Klaassen said six people were injured and rushed to hospital in Welkom, and that a number of houses, vehicles and a shopping centre had been damaged.

Stock image
Stock image

A number of houses, vehicles and a shopping centre have been damaged as a result of the explosion.”

The blast was reportedly felt kilometres away and resulted in a large column of smoke. Several houses had broken windows and in some, ceilings collapsed.

Harmony executive Marian van der Walt said only minor injuries were reported, and that the accident occurred after a methane build-up while contractors were filling the shaft barrel with rocks.

“Standard safety procedures were followed by the contractor and the mine leading to the rehabilitation process. However a full investigation is under way to find out what happened,” she added.

A statement by Harmony Gold said, “The filling process has been stopped and the area has been cordoned off.  Residents in the surrounding areas are assured that there is no immediate danger and no probability of a second explosion.”

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