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Explosions rock mine

Massive explosions and a fire caused by suspected sabotage consumed two Eskom generators situated at Eland Mine outside of Welkom on Sunday evening (28/07). The damage caused is estimated at R480 000.

The fire occurred at about 17:30.

Francois Klaassen of the Matjhabeng fire department says en-route to the fire the Matjabeng fire truck broke down. “About 1 km from the scene the fire fighters had to abandon the truck. They managed to get a lift from a passing bakkie and took some equipment with them. To make matters worse there were no fire hydrants at the scene,” says Klaassen.

Haz Quip was summoned to the fire by the Welkom Community Police Forum at about 17:36 on Sunday evening.

Heavy smoke was already engulfing the area, says Tines Bruyns of Haz Quip.

“The fire was intense, but we managed to extinguish the blaze within 15 minutes, and cooling down and dumping was completed by about 19:32. The fire had engulfed two of the four transformers,” says Bruyns.

The Welkom Police has confirmed the incident, and that a case in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act has been registered after a 500 KVA transformer at Blinkpoort Sub-station exploded.

“Unknown people allegedly entered the sub-station and unscrewed the transformer valves. As a result, it lost oil and exploded. The estimated damage is some R480 000,” says Capt. Stephen Thakeng, spokesperson for the Welkom Police.

Anyone with information must contact Lt.Col. Mokhethi Khapola of the Welkom Detective Services on 082-684-4890.

Sihle Maake of Harmony confirms the fires. “Phakisa management deployed engineers, and the generators on site were immediately started to switch on the fans,” she says.

The power was restored by Eskom on Monday at 08:00. The fire did not affect operations.

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