A rock drill operator has died and two other mineworkers injured at Lonmin’s Karee 3 shaft in Marikana in Rustenburg, North West, following an accident last week, the British platinum miner said on Tuesday.
“It is with regret that Lonmin Plc announces the death of Mr Giji Mxesibe, rock drill operator, in an accident at the company’s K3 shaft on Friday 17, February,” spokesperson Wendy Tlou said in a statement.
“Mr Mxesibe’s family has been informed and is receiving support from the company. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, colleagues and friends.”
Lonmin said judging from the preliminary investigation, it appeared that Mxesibe drilled into a misfired hole and sustained fatal injuries. Two other employees sustained minor injuries.
The area where the incident occurred will remain closed until the investigation is completed by the tripartite of the department of mineral resources, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and Lonmin.
Lonmin’s operations are situated in the Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa, where more than 70% of known global platinum group metals resources are found.
Statistics on the health and safety performance of the mining industry for the 2016 calendar year released last month showed a total of 73 fatalities compared to 77 during the previous year, a five percent improvement year-on-year.
The gold sector suffered 30 fatalities, platinum came second with 27 fatalities, coal had four deaths and other mines, including diamonds, chrome, copper and iron ore mines, had 12 fatalities.