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Nine dead in South Africa's mine accident
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Nine miners were killed when their conveyance fell 58 meters down a shaft at the Gold Fields South Deep mine near Randfontein in Gauteng on Thursday, the company said.

Gold Fields spokesman Andrew Davidson said the accident happened around 10:10 a.m. local time (0810 GMT) at the Twin Shaft complex of South Deep mine.

He said the nine contract employees were being taken down on a service conveyance from 1.05 level to 1.10 level when the rope snapped.

The 1.05 level is 2,804 meters below surface and the 1.10 level is 2,882 meters below surface.

"When the conveyance reached 1.05 level there was an apparent failure in the rope," said Davidson."We have recovered the bodies and we will be contacting next of kin."

He said an enquiry was being made into the apparent failure of the rope, adding that this was the 14th employee at Gold Fields who had died in mining accidents this week.

A driller assistant was killed in a ground fall at the same shaft on Tuesday and at the same day four miners died at Gold Fields' Driefontein mine in a rockfall.

Davidson said the newly-appointed chief executive Nick Holland - - whose first day at work was Thursday -- was flying up from Cape Town and would brief the media at the mine in Randfontein at 6:30 p.m. (1630 GMT)

Inspectors were on site investigating the incident.

The National Union of Mineworkers has called for "heads to roll " at Gold Fields. Spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said "Staff should charged."

Seshoka said the rope that broke was meant to be maintained once a week and the morale of workers at Gold Fields was very low at the moment.

Trade union Solidarity also reacted to the accident, saying it implored Gold Fields to take all necessary steps to put the current cycle of accidents to an immediate end.

(Xinhua News Agency May 2, 2008)

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