A spokesman for a collapsed gold mine in South Africa says the search has been suspended for the three people who have been trapped underground for more than a month because the ground is too unstable.

The Lily mine's spokesman Coetzee Zietsman said Tuesday that the three will not be declared dead until rescue workers find them. He said rescue workers, experts, the mine's management and unions were meeting to discuss the next step.

The mine near Barberton in the eastern Mpumalanga province collapsed on Feb. 5, creating a sinkhole that swallowed a mobile office container, trapping the three people inside it. Zietsman said rescuers have seen no signs of life since last month, when a second collapse halted the rescue operation.