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South Africa mine dam wall collapses, killing three and injuring 40

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JOHANNESBURG, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Flooding due to the collapse of a mine dam wall in South Africa’s Free State province swept away houses and cars on Sunday, the provincial government said, killing one individual and injuring another 40.

The disaster occurred in the diamond mining town of Jagersfontein at around 6: 00 a.m. (0400 GMT), the federal government said, forcing officials to evacuate scores of residents to nearby farms.

One individual was declared dead after their body was recovered, while 40 people, including one pregnant woman and four people with fractured limbs, have already been taken up to hospitals for treatment.

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The federal government said in a statement that search and rescue efforts are continuing at the dormant diamond mine, that was once owned by De Beers, a unit of Anglo American (AAL.L).

“An in depth report on the circumstances surrounding the incident will undoubtedly be released upon compilation,” any office of the Free State Premier said.

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe told reporters that nine houses were swept away while 20 were completely damaged by flooding from the tailing dam.

“Compensation for fatalities, compensation when it comes to harm to property will undoubtedly be taken as a responsibility of the business that owns the slimes dam,” he said.

State-owned power utility Eskom said in another statement it lost bulk electricity supply in your community when its Rietkuil substation was engulfed by mud and aims to revive supply to the Jagersfontein mine prior to the end of your day.

“It really is impossible to estimate when supply will undoubtedly be restored or even to determine the extent of the damage,” Eskom said.

The flooding damaged cellphone towers, hitting communications, and affected normal water, although some roads were take off. Many sheep are also washed away, non-governmental organization, Gift of the Givers said.

Mobile operator Vodacom (VODJ.J) told Reuters that two of its impacted base station sites are actually back online after deploying generators to power them, while rival MTN (MTNJ.J) said it really is looking for an alternative solution solution to access a tower it shares with others to be able to restore power and services.

The Minerals Council industry body said it had reached out to authorities to provide whatever practical support and assistance that the can offer.

De Beers said during the sale of the Jagersfontein mine and tailings in 2010 to Superkolong Consortium, which made up of black investors, that it had produced a few of the world’s largest gems when operating between 1870 and 1971.

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Additional reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Alexander Smith and Raissa Kasolowsky

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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