JOHANNESBURG, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Underground fire broke out in a copper mine in Limpopo province, South Africa on Sunday morning, killing five.
Palabora Copper said in a statement that one of their underground conveyer belts caught fire during the early hours of Sunday. Two workers lost their lives and four were confined underground. After intense rescue operations, the rescue teams have recovered three bodies of the trapped workers, brought the total death numbers to five.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union said in a statement that the fire broke out at around 1:25 on Sunday morning. When smoke was seen by a Logistic Belt Operator, the workers were instructed to evacuate the area to the closest refuge chamber.
The mine management officials from the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and organized labor are currently on the mine investigating the cause of the incident.
Palabora Copper has suspended its mining operations to enable the investigation.