August 31, 2017 / 12:37 PM / 5 months ago

Bodies of last missing miners recovered from Harmony mine in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The bodies of the last two miners unaccounted for at a mine operated by South Africa’s Harmony Gold were recovered on Thursday, the company said, bringing the death toll to five after a tremor shook the shafts last week.

Friday’s seismic event that rocked the Kusasalethu mine, one of the world’s deepest, with gold extracted at depths below 3 kilometers (1.8 miles), highlights the dangers of mining in South Africa’s challenging geology.

“All of the employees who were trapped underground, are now accounted for,” the company said in a statement.

South Africa is home to the world’s deepest mines where workers operate at depths of up to 4 kilometers. The industry has made efforts to improve safety and the number of miners killed hit a record low of 73 registered last year, compared with 77 in 2015.

Kusasalethu, located 90 kilometers west of Johannesburg, has had a troubled history and been a flash point for labor violence and strikes in recent years, threatening its viability and underlining the social risks of mining in South Africa.

Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Susan Fenton

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