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Search underway at Impala Rustenburg after mud rush traps five

By on November 29, 2021 0


JOHANNESBURG ( – A search and rescue operation is underway at Impala Rustenburg after a 6 Shaft mud rush on Monday, when all operations at the 6 Shaft and 16 Shaft complexes in Impala Rustenburg were suspended until ” that a full and complete report is available.

The underground mud rush incident, which occurred on Sunday, November 28, follows a separate incident at the 16 Shaft mining complex on Saturday, when a contract worker was fatally injured during drilling operations underground.

When the mud rush occurred, seven employees were working downhole 6. Two managed to escape with minor injuries, but at time of going to press five were still missing and two search teams. and rescue workers worked underground to locate missing employees.

“The impact of these events will likely extend to the entire concession area and potentially to other wells. We will need to assess and prevent similar risks from occurring on any of the operations, ”said the CEO of Implats. Nico muller said at a press conference at which Weekly Mining.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and affected union leaders have been informed of the incident.

Contacts have been made with the families of missing employees to provide updates on the search and rescue mission, as well as advice and support.

Muller said it was difficult to predict how long it would take to close the wells, especially at Well 6, which was flooded with mud.

“In the interests of safety, it is important to stop operations and assess all risks,” Muller said at a press conference.

“The problem for us at well 6 is that we had an influx of mud at the bottom of the shaft 265m. Usually this is a dry well, so the source of the seepage needs to be determined as we may be at risk in other wells.

“It is extremely important to understand the source of the risk and to ensure that the risk is mitigated in all operations, not only at Implala Rustenburg, but in all of our operations within the group.

The length of time 6 Shaft could be out of service would depend on the assessment of Implats and the DMRE.

“We will collaborate and provide updates as we move forward,” said Muller.

As it is one of the smaller trees, the 6 Shaft contributes less than 7% of the overall production with the 16 Shaft being a much larger tree.

But in trying to assess the overall impact, it would be naïve to base this solely on the impact of the 6 Shaft, Muller said.

The goal over the next few weeks would be to ensure that no employee is put at risk.

“I expect this to have a significant impact on production in rental areas especially for this quarter. As it is, we are still engaged in a search and rescue operation and that is our only focus at the moment, ”said Implats.

“The safety of our employees is our top priority, and our proto-mine teams are doing everything possible to locate missing employees. It is with deep regret that we record this incident, which comes at a time when we have made significant improvements to the group’s safety performance, with several historic safety records achieved over the past year. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved, ”Muller said in a press release to Weekly Mining.