UPDATE: All 1 800 'stuck' miners brought to surface - department

2019-04-30 23:00
The entrance to the Sibanye-Stillwater mine. (Iavan Pijoos/News24)

The entrance to the Sibanye-Stillwater mine. (Iavan Pijoos/News24)

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All 1 800 miners who were trapped underground at Sibanye Stillwater in Rustenburg in the North West have been brought to the surface, the Department of Mineral Resources said on Tuesday.

The department has been using its official Twitter account to convey information about the miners who have been stuck underground for almost 10 hours. 

Sibanye-Stillwater is South Africa's largest individual producer of gold and one of the 10 largest gold producers globally. 

Just before 21:00, the department said on its official Twitter account that around 1 000 employees had been safely brought to surface.

The company's spokesperson, James Wellsted, earlier told News24 that the workers were not trapped, but that they were "stuck" after an incident in the shaft. 

According to Wellsted, rails fell down a shaft and blocked workers from exiting after they entered the mine earlier on Tuesday morning. He said the incident happened around lunch time.

At the time, Wellsted also said the situation underground was calm and that rescue operations were ongoing. He added that workers and rescue teams constantly communicated and were safe in the shaft's waiting area.

No injuries had been reported at the time, he added. 

The incident may revive concerns about safety at Sibanye, which experienced a spike in fatal accidents last year.

READ: 20 deaths so far in 2018: the Sibanye-Stillwater blame game

Earlier this year, almost 1 000 miners were trapped underground in a Sibanye Gold mine in Welkom for more than 24 hours following an electric cable outage during a storm in the area. All 955 resurfaced and no serious injuries or fatalities were reported.

This is a developing story.

Read more on:    mining

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