All 1,800 Sibanye miners are safe after hours underground
An alternative exit route was used to safely evacuate miners in Rustenburg, minister of mineral resources Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday, as he commended Sibanye's rescue team for helping 1,800 workers who spent hours underground.
In a midnight update, Sibanye-Stillwater confirmed that all employees were safely brought to surface at its Thembelani shaft on Tuesday night.
They were "hoisted from the 14th level after a shaft inspection confirmed that it was safe to do so," the mine said in a statement.
"Further inspections on the shaft infrastructure below 15th level will follow now that all employees have been accounted for."
The incident occurred when at about 1pm on Tuesday, "some rails which were being transported underground at the Thembelani shaft, Rustenburg, whilst being slung under the conveyance, came loose and fell down the shaft," said Sibanye.
The company said about 1,800 day-shift employees were waiting at the shaft stations at the Thembelani shaft while an inspection was performed by the shaft personnel, before they decided that it was safe for the mine workers to return to the surface.
The department will commence with an investigation into the circumstances around the incident, said Mantashe.