At least 11 miners were killed and 75 others injured in a serious accident at Impala Platinum’s 11 Shaft in Rustenburg on 27th November afternoon. The accident occurred when the personnel conveyance that was hoisting the workers to the surface at the end of their shift suddenly started descending. The conveyance was stopped by the counterweight becoming trapped, but not before causing fatal injuries to some of the workers.
The mine rescue operation was completed on Monday night and all 86 workers were accounted for. The injured workers were transferred and admitted to four hospitals in the region for treatment. Some of them are in critical condition.
Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats) announced on Tuesday that it had suspended all mining operations at Rustenburg for the day. The company said it was devastated by the tragedy and was in the process of informing and liaising with the affected families in consultation with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE).
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.”