The mining minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, has ordered an investigation into the death of four mine workers in an underground fire at Impala Platimum’s Rustenberg mine on Friday night.

He said he had met with mine management [ yesterday] to express his concern about mining safety and the company and his department “agreed that the investigation will assist all of us to understand exactly what transpired.”

Zwane said “no mining will take place until the Department has declared the area safe for workers.”

Impala Platinum statement said that the four were “overcome by fumes while they were trying to find their way to safety” following the fire.  Some workers were rescued.

Implats’ CEO, Terence Goodlace said: “Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family and friends of the deceased at this most difficult time. We are in contact with the families and together with representatives from the Department of Mineral Resources and AMCU leadership, will continue to provide all the necessary support. I would also like to thank all members of the mine search and rescue teams who were involved in the operation today and express my appreciation to the other mines and industry for their messages of support and condolences”.

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