2 Jun 2009

Illegal miners killed in fire

7:16 am on 2 June 2009

At least 36 illegal miners have been killed in an underground fire at a mine in South Africa.

The mine at Velkom, in the northeast of the country, is owned by Harmony Gold but the part of the mine where the accident happened is no longer being used by the company.

Officials say illegal mining is a big problem at the moment.

A statement from the company says 294 illegal miners had been arrested at the mine over the two previous weeks.

Lesiba Seshoka of the National Union of Miners says the bodies that have been recovered from the mine are in a bad condition.

South Africa is one of the main producers of gold, diamonds, platinum and coal.