Approval granted to reopen Lily and Barbrook mines

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has approved Section 11 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) of 2002 for Vantage Goldfields to resume operations at Lily and Barbrook gold mines in Mpumalanga.

Lily Mine is the site of the 2016 tragedy where three mineworkers were trapped underground in a container following a fall of ground accident. They lost their lives and their bodies were never been retrieved.

The three miners were Solomon Nyirenda, Pretty Nkambule and Yvonne Mnisi.

“The company is expected to sink a decline/shaft to gain access to the underground workings to retrieve the container and the three missing employees at Lily mine,” the department said.

The reopening of the mine was announced following an engagement session between Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and stakeholders representing Vantage Goldfields, Lomshiyo Traditional Council, the Business Rescue Practitioner, organised labour, and government leaders.

During the session, Mantashe warned that the reopening is not a time for celebrations.

“[We] all agree that at the centre of our work is to re-open Lily mine, retrieve the bodies and bring closure to the affected families and fellow mineworkers.

“Despite the approval of the section 11 which paves the way for the re-opening of the mines and retrieval of the containers, this is not the time for celebrations, but the time for us to put more efforts and ensure that the mines re-open in the shortest possible time.”

The department said operations may resume later this year.

“All stakeholders, including representatives of the Lomshiyo Traditional Council; the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU); and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) expressed full support and confidence in the efforts to reopen the mines as these will create the much need jobs in the Liouville community.

“The business rescue process is expected to be completed by end of July 2024, after which the operations may resume,” the department said. –