RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – In a horrific turn of events, a platinum mine in Rustenburg, South Africa, was the scene of a deadly accident on Monday. An elevator malfunction in the mine, operated by Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats), led to the death of 11 workers and left 75 others injured.
The workers were ascending to the surface at the end of their shift when the elevator suddenly plummeted 655 feet down the shaft. The elevator’s rope, still attached to the winding mechanism, caused the sudden and fatal descent. An emergency brake halted the fall.
Implats’ CEO, Nico Muller, expressed deep sorrow over the incident, calling it the “darkest day” in the company’s history. An investigation into the cause of the accident is underway, and the mine’s operations have been put on hold.
Muller assured stakeholders of the company’s commitment to transparency and emphasized that safety and health are fundamental to their operations. He also confirmed that Implats is extending support to the families of the victims and those injured in the accident.
Johan Theron, a spokesperson for Implants, stated that many survivors have sustained severe injuries and are currently undergoing treatment. He termed the accident as “highly unusual.”
South Africa is the world’s leading producer of platinum. Over the years, the country has seen a decline in mining fatalities. The number of deaths in 2024 was 49, decreased from 74 in 2021. In 2000, the death toll was nearly 300.