(Updates with ninth miner's body found)
JOHANNESBURG Feb 7 South Africa's Harmony Gold
stopped all its operations on Friday to focus on safety
procedures for 24 hours after nine workers were killed in a
rock-fall and fire, the worst accident in South Africa's mines
in nearly five years.
South Africa's third-largest bullion producer said in a
statement rescue workers had located the last of the bodies of
the workers who died as a result of the accident on Tuesday
evening at its Doornkop mine near Johannesburg.
"This brings to nine the number of mineworkers who died, and
all are now accounted for," it said in a statement.
Eight mine workers who reached a refuge bay when the
rock-fall and fire occurred, were rescued on Wednesday.
Work at the mine halted on Friday for a "safety shift"
during which managers were expected to revisit safety procedures
with senior teams underground.
In addition to the Doornkop accident, two other workers had
died in separate incidents at other mines on Thursday, Harmony
Mining Minister Susan Shabangu said the incidents showed
that companies had to do more to improve safety in South
Africa's mines. Despite safety improvements since the end of
apartheid, more than 100 miners die on average each year.
"It's really an indictment on the safety in the mining
industry, especially in Harmony," she told Johannesburg radio
station Power FM.
Harmony's share price fell 2.8 percent on Friday, adding to
Thursday's losses of nearly 4 percent, because of concerns that
there could be a prolonged safety shut-down at Doornkop, which
produces nearly 10 percent of the company's bullion.
(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala and Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing
by Anthony Barker)