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South Africa: 11 killed, 75 injured after elevator suddenly falls in platinum mine

The incident occurred at the end of the workers' shift at the Rustenburg mine on Monday evening. Nico Muller, the CEO of Implats, which owns the mine, said that this was the "darkest day in the history" of the company and said that it would provide support to the families of the deceased workers.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Cape Town Updated on: November 28, 2023 15:43 IST
Representational Image
Image Source : FILE Representational Image

At least 11 people were killed in South Africa's Rustenburg city on Monday after an elevator carrying workers suddenly fell to the surface in a platinum mine. At least 75 people were injured in the incident and have been admitted to a hospital for treatment.

The incident occurred at the end of the workers' shift at the Rustenburg mine on Monday evening. Nico Muller, the CEO of Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats), which owns the mine, said that it was the "darkest day in the history of Implats".

"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," said Muller.

"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," he further said.

All 86 mine workers killed or injured were in the elevator, informed Implats spokesperson Johan Theron, adding that some of the injured had “serious compact fractures”. Theron said the elevator dropped approximately 200 metres down the shaft, as per an early estimate and remarked that it was a highly unusual accident.

Additionally, all mining operations at Impala Rustenburg have been suspended for Tuesday. The company further said that an investigation has begun in the sudden drop of the elevator. Notably, South Africa is the largest producer of platinum in the world and such mine accidents have been common in the country. The country had 49 fatalities from all mining accidents in 2022, a decrease from 74 the year before.

"The safety of our employees is paramount and we are providing all possible support to those involved and working closely with the relevant authorities. We are steadfast in our dedication to ensuring our colleagues and brought home safely and continue to prioritise safety above all else," Implats said in an earlier statement.

(with inputs from AP)

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