According to the company statement on Monday evening, Implats is committed to ensuring that all colleagues are “brought home safely”:
It is with regret Implats reports that a serious safety incident involving a winder rope occurred this afternoon at our 11 Shaft operation at Impala Rustenburg in the North West province, South Africa. This rope is connected to the personnel conveyance, which hoists employees up and down the shaft.
The conveyance comprises three levels, each with a capacity to carry 35 personnel. Initial reports indicate that there have been several serious injuries, but an accurate assessment of the full human impacts of the accident is not currently possible, given the complexity of the rescue operation.
Following the incident, the paramedics and our proto teams were immediately mobilised. They have accessed underground workings and the two upper levels of the conveyance have been cleared.
The rescue is now focused on vacating the lower level. The safety of our employees is paramount, and we are providing all possible support to those involved and working closely with the relevant authorities.
We remain steadfast in our dedication to ensuring our colleagues are brought home safely and continue to prioritise safety above all else. Implats will provide regular updates when new information becomes available.
"Today is the darkest day in the history of Impala and our hearts are heavy for the lives lost and the individuals affected by this devastating incident," CEO Nico Muller said in the statement.
The suspension could be extended to Wednesday to allow the company to "mourn and heal emotionally", a company spokesperson said.