Eleven fatalities reported in a mine elevator crash in South Africa

A tragic incident occurred on Monday at Impala Platinum’s Rustenburg mine in South Africa, where an elevator carrying over 80 workers plunged out of control as they were leaving a shaft at the end of their shift.

The devastating accident resulted in 11 fatalities and 75 injuries, according to the mine operators. The alert was raised around 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) when the lift unexpectedly started descending.

The rapid descent was halted by the conveyance counterweight getting caught by the jack catches, as reported by the company.

Jack catches serve as safety mechanisms designed to prevent lifts and underground trains from rolling back in the event of an accident.

Implats CEO, Nico Muller, expressed profound sadness over the tragic incident, stating, “Our hearts are burdened for the lives lost and the individuals impacted by this devastating accident.” In a statement, Muller conveyed the deep shock and sorrow felt by the company regarding the loss of their colleagues. Efforts are underway to contact all next of kin and provide necessary support.

The company reported that 75 workers sustained injuries in the incident and were subsequently transferred to local hospitals for necessary treatment.

Johan Theron, a spokesperson for Implats, informed AFP that among the injured, some suffered severe injuries, with the majority experiencing ankle and leg fractures, while others were able to leave with minor scratches.

The company confirmed the completion of rescue operations, ensuring that all 86 employees involved in the incident were located and accounted for. Efforts are ongoing to provide medical attention and support to those injured in the accident.

Following the tragic incident, Implats announced the suspension of all operations at the mine on Tuesday to facilitate a thorough investigation into the accident.

Nico Muller, the CEO of Implats, emphasized the company’s commitment to providing continuous support to the families and colleagues affected by the loss. Muller expressed condolences, stating, “We also hold our injured colleagues in our thoughts at this incredibly difficult time.”

It is noteworthy that South Africa holds the distinction of being the world’s leading producer of platinum.

Mine accidents are a frequent occurrence in South Africa, a nation where hundreds of thousands are employed in the mining industry. The country is home to the world’s deepest mines and serves as a significant exporter of various raw materials, including gold, diamonds, and coal.

South African mines, particularly the deep ones, often feature lifts capable of transporting over 100 individuals simultaneously. Despite efforts to enhance safety standards over the past two decades, the country still witnesses dozens of mining-related fatalities each year. Government statistics reported around 50 mining deaths in 2022, marking a decline in numbers compared to previous years.

The Rustenburg Implats mine, where the recent elevator tragedy occurred, had experienced another fatal incident in 2021 when several mine workers lost their lives due to a mudslide impacting one of the shafts. This highlights the recurrent risks faced by miners in their working environments.

Reflecting on historical mining disasters, the Coalbrook disaster of 1960 stands out, where over 430 coal miners lost their lives. These incidents underscore the ongoing challenges and hazards associated with the mining industry in South Africa, emphasizing the critical need for sustained efforts to prioritize and enhance safety measures.



Peter Ritdung Wakkias is a Nigerian blogger and programmer, known for being the CEO of and He holds a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science from Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic Lafia. Based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

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