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Sibanye says 1 800 workers are trapped underground

Follows incident in shaft used to transport workers.

About 1 800 workers are trapped underground at a Sibanye Gold platinum operation in South Africa after an incident in the shaft used to transport workers, the company said.

The company may use an adjacent shaft to hoist the workers to the surface, although there is currently no estimate for when that may happen, a spokesman said.

Key insights

Some rails being transported underground fell down the shaft and have blocked it, said spokesman James Wellsted.

Sibanye is assessing the shaft infrastructure, which may take a couple of hours, he said. There were no injuries as a result of the accident.

The workers entered the mine this morning and the incident happened around lunch time, around when they would normally be ending their shift, he said.

The incident may revive concerns about safety at Sibanye, which last year experienced a spike in fatal accidents. About 1 000 workers were trapped underground for more than a day at one of its gold mines in February 2018 after a power failure. 

Market reaction 

Sibanye fell as much as 4.1% and traded 2.7% lower by 4:31 pm in Johannesburg.

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This is bad news – especially at a time when Sibanya have made concerted efforts to improve their safety record. Hopefully there are no fatalities and all miners return unharmed.
This could reduce Platinum output if there is a long delay in repairing damage. Look what a reduced output of Oil has done to the Oil price. Maybe this cloud has a silver lining…but only if the miners are unharmed.

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