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A mining accident in South Africa’s North West province has left 11 workers dead and dozens injured.
The incident occurred Monday afternoon at a shaft of Impala Platinum’s Rustenburg mine. A winding rope connected to an underground personnel carrier apparently failed.
The carrier has three levels, each able to transport 35 employees. At the time, 86 miners were inside the vehicle as it moved along the vertical shaft.
“When the accident happened, we mobilized emergency personnel and proto teams for rescue efforts,” said Implats spokesperson Johan Theron. “Tragically, 11 miners died before operations could reach them.”
Another 75 workers suffered various injuries. Paramedics treated most at the scene while some required hospitalization.
Investigations are now underway to determine the exact causes behind the winding rope failure.
CEO Nico Muller called it the “darkest day in the history of Implats,” amidst efforts to improve safety standards. The company is providing support for all those impacted and cooperating fully with authorities.
While South Africa possesses vast mineral wealth, extracting it from ever-deeper pits brings inherent dangers. The mining sector must continue finding ways, through both technology and training, to ensure nobody perishes for gold deep underground.