Two killed at Ivanhoe Platinum’s Platreef project after iron hoisting bucket plummets down shaft

TWO miners at Ivanhoe Platinum were killed and another injured after a kibble bucket fell down a shaft at the firm’s R1.5bn Platreef project.

A fourth employee is reported missing, the company said today. The employees were conducting routine water pumping activities when the accident occurred.

Ivanhoe Platinum is 64%-controlled by Ivanhoe Mines, the company established by Robert Friedland, the world renowned mining entrepreneur.

The accident occurred in Shaft 1 at the Platreef platinum group metals (PGM) mine development project situated on the Northern Limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex. The mine will have initial average annual production rate of 476,000 ounces of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold as well as nickel and copper by-products.

“On behalf of the entire management of Ivanplats and Ivanhoe Mines, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families who have lost their loved ones in this tragic event,” said Marna Cloete, Ivanhoe Mines president and CFO.

Specialist winder engineers from Johannesburg-based DRA have been sourced to assist the Platreef team in evaluating the possible causes leading to this tragic accident.

Development activities at Platreef have been suspended pending the investigation and will resume “… only once the safety at the site can be assured”, the company said.

Platreef’s Shaft 1 is equipped with new, modern hoisting equipment, with fully-automated safety features, including multiple, brake-control systems, it added.

A kibble, or iron bucket, is used to hoist ore or refuse, as well as carry people, down the mine shaft whilst it is being equipped.