Day 8 of Lily Mine disaster – Spar answers call for food

Mike Begg Lily Mine

12 Feb


Marketing manager of Spar Lowveld, Mr Roland Hill, is currently in contact with the management of Lily Mine to determine what the exact need is with regards to food and drinks for the rescue workers. Various businesses and individuals from the local community have also stepped up to the plate and brought some much needed replenishment for the over-worked rescue personnel.


At 8:15 this morning it was exactly a week since the collapse at Lily Mine last Friday. A visibly exhausted Mike Begg briefed the media again this morning and explained that the past two days brought with it some extreme challenges in the form of “hangups in the crosscut.” These hangups refer to gigantic rocks that are suspended from above layers, and pose enormous risks to the fatigued mine workers that are excavating below them.

According to Begg they had to resort to some controlled blasting last night, which led to them being able to get some material out. “That is what we want to get, the soil coming down. If today goes well and we are able to move rock and keep it flowing we should be able to bring down material. That is where the answers come.”

Begg is still positive that they are in the right area but admits that some of the workers are getting sick and fatigued from working very long shifts under very strenuous conditions. “It is starting to take its toll on the rescue team,” Begg admitted, and appealed to the community to please assist with food en drinks as they are experiencing shortages right now.

He ended off by saying that, “Hopefully we don’t have to work tomorrow, but let’s see what today brings.”

Cosatu Provincial Chairperson, Mr Life Monini, arrived this morning with a few members and asked for permission from Lily Mine HR manager, Mr Corrie Hallet, to enter premises to speak to the family of missing miners. Amcu

Permission was not granted but the situation is still peaceful even after a larger group of ANC members arrive and started singing struggle songs outside the gates of the mine. Many of them are not locals and were brought to the area with buses. Hallet says they were not aware of any plans of political parties gathering at the mine.

ANC Lily Mine

Members of the ANC showed up at Lily Mine this morning and are singing struggle songs in front of the Mine’s gates.

11 Feb


CEO of Vantage Goldfields Limited, Michael McChesney, and Mr Mike Begg, operations director at Lily Mine, briefed the media this afternoon regarding the current status of the rescue operation.


The Methodist church from Matsulu just arrive to pray and sing. They look beautiful in tbeir red and white attire. Their voices is something mere words can not describe. The desperation in their voices, the power of their prayer cuts through all language barriers to the deepest hiding place in one’s soul. There is no other word for it.

Lily mine Lily mine


10 Feb 10:30

Amcu leader Mr Joseph Mathunjwa, who has been underground with the rescue team since 16:00, briefed the media. Accoridng to Mathunjwa the absence of sound coming from the container in answer to their knock might be because the three miners are tired. Also, in order to hear them, work need to be halted and right now their focus is on getting as much done as possible. He says he is certain the miners are still alive.

10 Feb – 06:00

It has been almost 120 hours since the traumatic news of the three trapped workers of Lily Mine broke. Today is the sixth day that the lamp room workers Mr Solomon Nyarenda, Ms Pretty Mabuza and Ms Yvonne Mnisi have been trapped inside a container nearly 90 metres below ground level.

The emotional and desperate cries of “Jesu! Jesu!” can be heard coming from the family who were allowed to sleep on the mine’s premises.

Despite last night’s high hopes and reports that there were only 12 metres of debris between the rescue workers and the miners, they have not been reached yet.

According to Begg, it has been a very challenging night with big rocks continuing to block drawpoints and hamper operations. He said they would keep going and although there had not been any signals from the mine workers for quite some time, they would not stop.



A tent and chairs have just been delivered and are being erected.
People waiting for news from the mine management requested earlier that they be provided with some means of shelter.


Most of these concerned relatives have been sitting and sleeping on the ground since Friday.



09 Feb – 18:49

LOW’S CREEK – Emotions are flaring up outside the Lily Mine where three miners’ are still trapped under tons of fallen rock.

It is now a race against time as Mr Solomon Nyarenda, Ms Pretty Mabuza and Ms Yvonne Mnisi, who were inside the so-called lamp room when disaster struck on Friday morning, are believed to be without water.

More about the incident here: Lily Mine: search for trapped workers continue

It is reported that the rescue team have now reached some of the surface debris which includes piping.

Bystanders who have been waiting for the return of Nyarenda, Mabuza and Mnisi, are now demanding that a tent be erected for them. However, Begg said that he understood their frustration, but that the mine’s focus was on the three miners and undertook to keep them updated on the situation.

Some of the bystanders at Lily Mine earlier tonight. 


This was followed by a heated discussion outside the gate among those who have been waiting it out for days.

Barberton Times first broke the story on Friday morning. Read the initial report here.

Anchen Coetzee

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