/ 28 November 2023

Eleven dead in lift malfunction at Impala Platinum mine

Mining Output
The mining industry has struggled in the face of energy and logistics constraints, but signs of progress have stirred cautious optimism. (Michele Spatari/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Eleven workers at a South African platinum mine were killed and dozens injured after an elevator bringing the workers back up to the surface malfunctioned, the mine’s operator said on Tuesday.

Impala Platinum said the “serious accident” happened on Monday in the late afternoon at its mine in Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, as employees were leaving one of the shafts at the end of their shift. 

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

“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”.

The company said 75 workers were injured and were transferred to local hospitals and admitted for treatment. 

Implats spokesman Johan Theron told AFP some were severely injured, most suffered from ankle and leg fractures, and others walked out with minor scratches. 

The accident happened shortly before 5pm (1500 GMT) on Monday as the lift hoisting employees “unexpectedly started descending”, according to the company. 

“Its rapid descent was stopped by the conveyance counterweight becoming trapped by the jack catches,” it said in a statement.

© Agence France-Presse