Professor Kim Ncube-Hein of Mining Geology at Wits University says the crown pillar, which is the distance between the pit where they have been working underground, has fragmented and collapsed onto the underground mine.
Expert geologists decided it’s too dangerous to send rescue teams back underground after a meeting with Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leaders and Lily Mine management.
If you approach that from the top you are likely to go down with it and also likely to slide down with it, that is why it’s so dangerous.— Professor Kim Ncube-Hein, of Mining Geology at Wits University.
Ncube-Hein says it’s difficult to explain to families why it’s taking time and the risks associated with it.
Yvonne Mnisi, Solomon Nyerende and Pretty Nkambule have been stranded 80 metres underground for 12 days now.
There have been three collapses at the scene, when a large piece of the hill above the mine broke off and fell into the same hole where the workers are trapped inside a metal container.