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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Death of miners ‘darkest day in history of Implats’ − CEO

Another 75 miners were injured in the underground accident at the Rustenburg mine on Monday.

Impala Platinum Mine (Implats) has described the death of 11 miners at its Rustenburg operations as the “darkest day” in the history of Implats.

Eleven people were killed and another 75 injured following an underground accident at Implats mining facility on Monday.

Implats said there had been a “serious safety incident” after a winder rope at the mine’s 11 Shaft operation malfunctioned and caused a cage carrying workers to plunge below.

It said the injured employees were transferred and admitted to four hospitals in the region.

“The mine rescue operation is complete and all 86 employees are accounted for.”

ALSO READ: At least 11 dead at Impala Mine after cage with miners plunges

Darkest day

CEO Nico Muller said they are shattered by the deaths of the miners.

“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,” he said.

Operations suspended

Implats said all mining operations at Impala Rustenburg are suspended for today.

“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.”

Implats said the 11 Shaft personnel conveyance was hoisting employees to surface at the end of their shift when the accident occured.

“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,” it said.

Implats said investigations into the cause of the incident have commenced and it will provide updates when new information becomes available.

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