Search for last miner trapped at South Africa's Gamsberg goes on, mining halted

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Rescuers were searching for the last of 10 miners trapped at South Africa’s Gamsberg zinc mine on Saturday and mining activity remains suspended, owner Vedanta Zinc International (VZI) said.

“Mining-related activities at Gamsberg Mine remain suspended until further notice,” the company said, adding that it has called in technical experts to conduct the rescue operation.

The shut down of the mine, which halted operations from Nov. 17 following a “geotechnical incident”, has sent prices of the fourth most widely consumed metal on the London Metals Exchange to a 18-month high of $2,793 per tonne on Friday.

A geotechnical incident is usually an accident that occurs due to damage to underground excavations.

The mine, located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa and bordering south of Namibia, has been operational since 2019 and was close to ramping up to its top 250,000 tonnes of zinc in concentrate capacity.

As many as 10 employees were trapped after the accident, which occurred on Tuesday morning. Eight have so far been rescued and one has died, the company has said.

Reporting by Promit Mukherjee and Helen Reid, editing by Louise Heavens