As Gold Prices Spike, Mines Go Deeper

As Gold Prices Spike, Mines Go Deeper
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Two miners trapped overnight in the Elandsrand Gold Mine, west of Johannesburg, South Africa, smile as they walk into the daylight on October 4, 2007.

After an accident damaged the elevator in a deep mine shaft, 3,200 miners were trapped for 24 hours. All were later freed.

The accident has sparked renewed concern about the safety record of the mining industry, experts say.

Some mining companies have set a goal of zero mining deaths by 2013, but even they acknowledge it's no guarantee.

"We have to concede that our safety performance in the last year and a half or so has been quite a lot less than satisfactory," said AngloGold Ashanti spokesperson Alan Fine.

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—Photograph by Schalk van Zuydam/AP
 
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