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11 Feared Dead in Platinum Mine Accident in South Africa

The company that runs the mine, Impala Platinum, confirmed on Tuesday that eleven people died in an accident at a South African platinum mine on Monday when a lift toppled as it was transporting workers at the conclusion of their day.

“Eighty-six employees were standing in the lift, eleven lost their lives, and all the others were transferred to hospitals,” a business spokesman told AFP, adding that several of them were critically hurt.

The lift picked up miners at the bottom of this 1,000-meter-deep shaft, about 150 kilometers north-west of Johannesburg, and stopped several times on the way up to “collect the miners at the end of their shift” shortly before 5 p.m. (15:00 GMT), according to Johan Theron, a mining company spokesman.

An operator “tried to apply the emergency protocols” but the lift continued to descend and only stopped at the very bottom, when the counterweight rose to the surface and then “got stuck by jacks”, causing “a sudden stop”.

“Some died, others were seriously injured and others escaped with scratches”, the spokesman said, adding that many of the injured had broken ankles and legs.

The rescue operation has been completed, said Impala Platinum, which said it was “devastated” by the fatal accident and that all operations at the mine had been suspended on Tuesday. An investigation has been opened.

“Our hearts are heavy for the lives lost and for those affected by this devastating accident,” said Nico Muller, CEO of Impala Platinum (Implats), in a statement.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our colleagues and are in the process of ensuring that all next of kin have been contacted”.

South Africa, a mineral-rich country, is the world’s biggest producer of platinum. Miner fatalities are common in the country, which possesses the world’s deepest mines and is a major exporter of gold, diamonds, coal, and other raw resources.

The Johannesburg region, which still has numerous operating gold and platinum mines, is littered with slag heaps, shafts, and deep trenches left by generations of miners, whose arrival during the 1880s gold rush led to the foundation of the city.

Written by PH

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