Num accuses Sibanye Gold of covering up underground fire

File: Sibanye-Stillwater bought the mine in June this year. 

File: Sibanye-Stillwater bought the mine in June this year. 

Gallo/Elizabeth Sejake

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) is accusing Sibanye Gold of hiding information about an underground fire.

It&39;s alleged the fire started two weeks ago, and it&39;s still not extinguished.

READ: Four killed in platinum mine fire

Num says Sibanye Gold is obliged to alert workers and unions.

"What&39;s concerning is that the management has not been communication with workers and unions," said Num Health and Safety Secretary, Erick Gcilitshana.

"When there&39;s an underground fire, there&39;s danger as workers go underground on a daily basis.

"In terms of the mining Act, mines have a responsibility to inform the committees of any life-threatening incidents that are seen in the mine and that has not been happening," he added.

The mine has responded, confirming the underground fire at one of its shafts, but says these are not uncommon.

READ: Sibanye Gold shareholders score R1.3bn as platinum price soars

"There&39;s been indeed a fire that has been burning for some time, [which] started just before Easter break," said Head of Investor Relations at Sibanye Gold, James Wellsted.

"Fires of this type are not uncommon in SA gold mine industry -- there is a lot of timber, previously been used for support.

"We believe the fire was a result [of,] or related to illegal activity. We have normal processes we are following. Nobody has been affected by the fire," he added.

For more on this issue, you may watch the full interview with both gentlemen, embedded below: