As Gold Prices Spike, Mines Go Deeper

As Gold Prices Spike, Mines Go Deeper
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Mineworkers toil deep underground in the Randfontein Gold Mine, owned by the company Harmony Gold, near Johannesburg, South Africa, on September 22, 2005.

As demand for gold increases, more mining companies are creating "ultra deep" mine shafts to glean the most elusive gold ore deposits.

But recent accidents have drawn attention to the mining industry's safety standards, experts say.

In October a power failure at Harmony Gold's Elandsrand Gold Mine west of Johannesburg trapped 3,200 miners underground for more than 24 hours.

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—Photograph by Mike Hutchings/Reuters
 
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