Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 22 July 2009 – Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats) “’ the world’s second largest platinum producer “’ has shut three shafts and part of another one at its Rustenburg mine in South Africa, after this week’s accident which killed nine workers.
Spokesman Bob Gilmour said the company had shut the No. 14 shaft where the accident happened, plus two shafts under development and part of the No. 12 shaft.
“The investigation is the next step, and how long that will take we don’t know at this time. Nothing will happen this week,” Gilmour told Reuters.
The nine workers were killed in a ground fall at the mine on Monday.
Mining Minister Susan Shabangu “’ who visited the site “’ said her department would launch a thorough investigation of the mine to see whether Implats had complied with proper safety precautions.
“We intend to go to the area where the accident occurred to determine the cause, but also to look at the safety standards to see whether the company had complied," she added.
Reuters reports that South Africa, which has the world’s deepest mines, has one of the highest rates of work-related mining deaths in the industrialised world. Last year 168 workers died in legal operations, down 24% on the previous year.
The Solidarity union claims that 104 miners have lost their lives in mining accidents in South Africa so far this year.
“The current level of mining deaths in South African means that more than three mineworkers die in mining accidents each week “’ these figures are shocking,” said Solidarity deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann.