The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on Wednesday said its health and safety inspectorate would launch a full investigation to determine the cause of two safety incidents that occurred at an Impala Platinum (Implats) mine in Rustenburg, North West.
This follows the tragic deaths of three mineworkers at the platinum mine on Monday after a group of seven workers got stuck at the bottom of a shaft on Sunday, after the area became flooded as a result of a mudslide.
Four injured miners were rescued by proto teams and received medical care.
The incident followed a separate event that occurred at Implats’ 16 shaft mining complex on 27 November, where a contract employee was fatally injured during underground drilling operations.
In a statement, the department said it was saddened by the loss of life following the two fatal incidents at Implats.
The department said the health and safety of mineworkers continued to be a priority for government as it worked towards achieving zero harm in South Africa’s mines.
“We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the workers who have sadly lost their lives. One life lost is one too many.
“No one deserves to lose their life in the line of duty. We wish the injured workers a speedy recovery.”
On Tuesday, Implats’ spokesperson Johan Theron said eight search and rescue teams from Impala Rustenburg and other mining companies were involved in the search for the five miners who were missing.
All operations at Implats’ Rustenburg’s 6 shaft remained suspended due to the incident and the company said it continued to work closely with the department and other stakeholders.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe