Platreef says two dead, one missing and one hurt in mine shaft incident

15 September 2020 - 16:37
Two mine workers died, one is missing and another was injured at the Platreef mine in Mokopane, Limpopo. Stock photo.
Two mine workers died, one is missing and another was injured at the Platreef mine in Mokopane, Limpopo. Stock photo.
Image: Gallo Images/ iStockphoto

Two mineworkers died, one is missing and another has been injured after an iron bucket used for hoisting ore, known as a kibble bucket, fell down a shaft on to a platform where they were working.

Ivanhoe Mines spokesperson Bill Trenaman said the accident occurred in shaft 1 at the Platreef palladium-platinum-nickel-copper-rhodium-gold mine development project in Mokopane, Limpopo.

The Platreef Project is owned by Ivanplats, which is 64% owned by Ivanhoe Mines.

“Preliminary information indicates  the accident occurred as a result of a kibble bucket falling down shaft 1 and striking the northern side of the working platform, where four employees were conducting routine water pumping activities.”

Trenaman said the injured employee was excavated from the shaft by emergency rescue crews and transported to a hospital in Johannesburg in a stable condition.

Platreef has suspended activities pending an investigation and will resume once the safety of the site can be assured.

CFO and president  of Ivanhoe Mines, Marna Cloete, said specialist winder engineers from Dowding Reynard and Associates were evaluating the possible causes leading to the incident. Winder components are used to transport people or equipment into and out of the shafts. The components make up the drum shaft, brake components, winder ropes, conveyance attachments, sheave wheels, gearboxes and anchoring bolts.

National Union of Mineworkers east regional secretary Phillip Mankge said earlier the information they had received was that a lift rope had broken. He said three people were killed, but the union was not allowed on to the mine on Monday afternoon to establish the exact events.

Cloete said Platreef’s shaft 1 was equipped with new, modern hoisting equipment, with fully automated safety features, including multiple brake-control systems.

“On behalf of the entire management of Ivanplats and Ivanhoe Mines, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families who have lost their loved ones in this tragic event. Safety for everyone at our mine sites is our highest priority. We will work closely with the SA authorities to determine the cause of the accident.”

The Platreef mine lies on the northern limb of what is known as the Bushveld Complex. The complex is the largest repository of magmatic [made by magma] ore in the world. It covers more than 66km² and is 9km deep.