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At least 11 miners are dead and 75 are injured after an underground accident happened at an Implats mine near Rustenburg.

According to Implats, there had been a “serious safety incident” with the winder rope at Shaft 11 on Monday.

“This rope is connected to the personnel conveyance, which hoists employees up and down the shaft. The conveyance comprises three levels, each with a capacity to carry 35 personnel.”

Implats CEO Nico Muller said it appeared that the conveyance was hoisting employees to the surface at the end of their shift when the counterweight became trapped by the jack catches.

“Investigations into the cause of the incident have commenced.”

Paramedics and rescue teams were mobilised immediately. The injured employees were taken to the four local hospitals.

According to the Minerals Council South Africa, the industry had recorded 41 deaths for the year. But this was before the accident. Last year’s fatality number was 44.

Muller called it “the darkest day in the history of Implats and our hearts are heavy for the lives lost and the individuals affected by this devastating accident”.

Image credit: Daily Maverick

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