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S,African miner Simmers says 8 trapped underground

Written by: Staff
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JOHANNESBURG, Mar 23 (Reuters) South Africa's Simmer and Jack Mines Ltd. today said eight miners were trapped underground at its Buffelsfontein mine after a fire.

''Indications were that the fire was caused by an electrical problem ... Our rescue teams have been working since early this morning,'' a spokesman told Reuters.

The firm said 136 miners were underground at the time at the mine near the town of Stilfontein 155 km southwest of Johannesburg.

Nine other miners had been treated for smoke inhalation, and the mine spokesman said they suspected the fire was caused by an electrical problem.

''Rescuing the miners is our first priority, establishing exactly what happened is next on our list,'' Deon van der Mescht, Simmers' chief operating officer said in a statement.

Shares in the miner dropped as much as 8.15 per cent before recovering to 1.28 rand by 1420 hrs, still down 5.19 per cent drop. The All-share index was 0.84 per cent higher.

REUTERS DKS BST1500

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