South African gold mine stops production after underground deaths of 2 workers

A South African mine with one of the biggest gold deposits in the world has halted production after two employees died in underground accidents this month.

Nick Holland, CEO of the Gold Fields company, said Thursday that South Africa's department of mineral resources had ordered a stop to activities around underground workshops in the South Deep mine southwest of Johannesburg. Holland says he hopes some operations can resume early next week, though a plan to make underground ramps safer will take four months.

Holland says a dumptruck reversed over a contractor in one of the accidents, and another employee died when he was struck by part of a drill rig in a workshop.

Gold Fields predicts full production at the mechanized South Deep mine by the end of 2017.