Lily mine, that caved in three years ago in Louieville near Barberton in Mpumalanga, is to start operating next in March. This was revealed by the new investor Siyakhula Sonke Empowerment Corporation (SSC) during the commemorative event to mark three years since the Lily mine disaster.

The mine caved in and trapped three workers in 2016.

Hundreds of Lily mineworkers attended the commemorative event to mark three years since the mine disaster.

Many were left jobless after the incident.

The bodies of Yvonne Mnisi, Solomon Nyirenda and Pretty Nkambule are still underground. The three were among a group of 79 workers who were trapped underground. The others were rescued. However, the workers feel nothing is being done to re-open the mine and retrieve the three bodies.

The workers say the mine management has been making empty promises about the re-opening of the mine.

Petros Maseko had worked at the mine for five years before the incident. Maseko now depends on odd jobs for survival.

“We still have three employees that are trapped underground. Our government seems to close the other eye … it’s not in charge the families. We don’t know whose looking after the families. There is no improvement.”

Meanwhile, Pretty Nkambule’s husband, Christopher Mazibuko, has criticised the union leadership for not informing him on the developments to retrieve them.

“They are not telling us anything and it’s sad. She is my wife. The leadership has to inform me what’s happening, not hear from other workers. It’s sad. I have been neglected.”

The new investor, SSC, has acquired the mining right to resume operation. Chief Executive Officer of the SSC, Fred Arendse, says obstacles prevented the mine from resuming operation in 2018.

“After we have received the Section 11, we have a certain amount of certainty in respect of what we need to do and internally, the plan that we need to work out. We target the 25th of March where we want to start engaging recruitment. Remember, we have two mines. Barbrook was closed because of Lily.”

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa has called on government to inject money into the project to resume mining and retrieve the three trapped workers.

“It is the responsibility of the government because it is the government that has disciplines like DMR.”