South Africa's Lily gold mine will remain closed until the bodies of three trapped miners are recovered and the operation can be run safely, mines minister Mosebenzi Zwane said on Friday.

Almost 90 miners were rescued after a cave-in at the mine, operated by Australia-based Vantage Goldfields, in February.

South Africa's mines are the deepest and among the most dangerous in the world. The number of deaths in the industry has fallen due to improved safety practices and a reduction in the labour force as production declines.

Last year, 77 workers were killed in mining accidents, compared with 84 in 2014.