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30 Apr, 2019 16:50

1,000 miners rescued, some 800 remain trapped underground in South Africa platinum mine

1,000 miners rescued, some 800 remain trapped underground in South Africa platinum mine

Around 1,000 people have been evacuated safely from a South African platinum mine, while some 800 people remain stranded 1.5 kilometers underground after an accident blocked a major shaft.

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 Sibanye Gold company, which operates the mine, believes that no one has been injured during the incident. The workers were about to end their shift and had gathered at pick-up points some a mile below the surface just before the incident.

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The company is accessing the situation and is considering the use of an adjacent shaft to evacuate those trapped, spokesman James Wellsted told Bloomberg. The rescue operation, however, might take several hours.

“They are in a very big complex, but they are quite safe,” Wellsted said. “They have access to water and there is sufficient ventilation.”

It’s not the first time that a large number of miners were trapped underground at Sibanye-operated mines. In February last year, some 1,000 workers were stuck underground for over a day after a storm damaged a mine’s power supply.

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