Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. is confirming a third death after an underground accident Monday at its Platreef mine development project in South Africa.
The Vancouver-based company says the workers were killed when a "kibble bucket,'' commonly used to haul water, ore or refuse to the surface, fell down a mine shaft, striking the side of a platform where four employees were conducting routine water-pumping activities.
Ivanhoe initially reported two workers were killed in the accident while another was injured and a fourth was missing.
The company says a rescue team who retrieved the bodies of the two dead miners on Friday also found the body of the missing fourth person, also deceased.
The injured employee who was taken to hospital in Johannesburg is now expected to make a full recovery.
Ivanhoe indirectly owns 64 per cent of the palladium-platinum-nickel-copper-rhodium-gold mine through its subsidiary, Ivanplats, and is directing all mine development work.
In July, it completed construction of the 996-metre-level station at the bottom of the shaft, positioning it to be equipped as Platreef’s initial production shaft if phased development to expedite production proceeds.
Ivanhoe says it has brought in specialist engineers to assist the investigation into causes of the accident and development activities at Platreef have been suspended until safety at the site can be assured.
"The safety and well-being of our employees is our topmost priority and we will work closely with the authorities to investigate this accident fully," Ivanhoe Mines president Marna Cloete said in a statement.