Scores of miners trapped underground at Platinum mine

Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine near Carletonville on the West Rand in Gauteng

Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine near Carletonville on the West Rand in Gauteng

About 1 800 workers are trapped underground at a Sibanye Gold platinum operation in South Africa after an incident in the shaft used to transport workers, the company said.

By about 9pm, majority had safely been hoisted to the surface, with the rest expected to follow in short order.

The department says it has an inspector monitoring the situation at the Thembelani shaft in Rustenberg run by mining company Sibanye-Stillwater. "So, we're busy, first of all, removing all obstructions and also doing a full shaft inspection because you need to make sure that there's been no damage", Wellsted explained. "More than 1,500 employees have been safely brought to surface, with the remaining employees being gradually hoisted to surface".

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The mine says it's preparing safe exit plans, including moving workers to another shaft from where they can be brought to the surface.

The miners found themselves trapped underground after a haul of rails, transported through the major shaft of the facility, fell down and blocked it, according to media reports.

The day shift employees were waiting at the shaft stations at the Thembelani shaft and there had been no serious injuries reported. He expressed concerns for his members. In February a year ago, some 1,000 workers were stuck underground for over a day after a storm damaged a mine's power supply.

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