Eleven workers have died while 75 others have been rushed to hospital after being injured in a tragic accident at the Impala Platinum mine in Rustenburg.
The company said in a media statement that it was devastated to report the tragic loss of lives following the serious accident at the mine’s 11 shaft at 4.54pm on Monday.
The company said the injured workers were transferred and admitted for treatment to four hospitals in the region.
“The mine rescue operation is complete and all 86 employees are accounted for,” said mine spokesperson Emma Townshend.
“We are presently in the process of informing and liaising with the impacted families in consultation with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and are working closely with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
“All mining operations at Impala Rustenburg are suspended today.”
Darkest day in mine history
Implats CEO, Nico Muller, said: “This is the darkest day in the history of Implats and our hearts are heavy for the lives lost and the individuals affected by this devasting accident. We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our colleagues and are in the process of ensuring all next of kin have been contacted.
“Implats is offering ongoing support to the families and colleagues of those lost in service. We also hold our injured colleagues in our thoughts at this incredibly difficult time.
“I extend my deepest gratitude to the local medical services from the Bojanala District and the Impala Medical Services team who worked tirelessly during this crisis to provide the necessary emergency paramedic services, secure additional ICU beds and ambulances, mobilise additional general surgeons and secure the support of three private hospitals to assist our Impala Hospital in caring for the critically injured.
“We are also extremely grateful to all the proto and rescue teams for their tireless and courageous efforts, working under very difficult circumstances, to rescue our 11 shaft team members. We value the efforts of all stakeholders coming together in this extremely difficult time, particularly the emergency responders,” he said.
Muller said on Monday the 11 shaft personnel conveyance was hoisting employees to surface at the end of their shift. At 16:54, the conveyance unexpectedly started descending. It’s rapid descent was stopped by the conveyance counterweight becoming trapped by the jack catches. All emergency protocols were observed during the event and paramedics and our proto (search and rescue) teams were immediately mobilised.
“Investigations into the cause of the incident have commenced. Implats will provide updates when new information becomes available,” he said.
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