JOHANNESBURG — Floods caused by the collapse of a mine dam in South Africa’s Free State province swept away homes and cars on Sunday, the provincial government said, killing one person and injuring another 40.
The disaster struck around 6 a.m. in the diamond mining town of Jagersfontein, the government said, forcing officials to evacuate scores of residents to nearby farms.
One person was pronounced dead after her body was recovered, while 40 people, including a pregnant woman and four people with broken limbs, were taken to hospitals for treatment.
The government said in a statement search and rescue efforts are continuing at the disused diamond mine, which was once owned by De Beers, an Anglo American entity.
“A detailed report on the circumstances of the incident will be published after it has been compiled,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe told reporters that nine houses were swept away while 20 were completely damaged by the dam flooding.
“Compensation for death and property damage will be paid by the corporation that owns the slime dam,” he said.
State-owned utility Eskom said in a separate statement it lost power to the region when its Rietkuil substation was engulfed in mud and intends to restore power to the Jagersfontein mine before the end of the day.
“It is impossible to estimate when supplies will be restored or to determine the extent of the damage,” Eskom said.
The floods damaged cellphone towers, disrupted communications and compromised drinking water, while cutting off some roads. Many sheep were also washed away, said the non-governmental organization Gift of the Givers.
Mobile operator Vodacom told Reuters two of its affected base station sites are now back online after generators were deployed to power them, while rival MTN said it was looking for an alternative way to access a tower it shares with others Restore power and services.
The Minerals Council industry body said it has reached out to authorities to offer any practical support and assistance the industry can provide.
At the time of the 2010 sale of the Jagersfontein mine and tailings to the Superkolong consortium of black investors, De Beers said it produced some of the largest gemstones in the world between 1870 and 1971.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/11/south-africa-mine-dam-wall-collapse-kills-one-and-injures-40/ One dies and 40 are injured when a dam collapses in South Africa