Fire kills four at Impala Platinum’s Rustenburg mine in South Africa

24 January 2016 (Last Updated January 24th, 2016 18:30)

Four workers have been killed in an underground fire at Impala Platinum's Rustenburg mine in South Africa.

Four workers have been killed in an underground fire at Impala Platinum's Rustenburg mine in South Africa.

The fire began at the company's Rustenburg 14 shaft on Friday, and all but four workers were evacuated by rescue teams.

According to the company, the four employees were overcome by fumes when they tried to escape.

"It is unacceptable that mine workers are denied their basic human right to work in an environment that guarantees their safety."

Impala Platinum CEO Terence Goodlace said: "We are in contact with the families and together with representatives from the DMR and AMCU leadership, will continue to provide all the necessary support."

Reuters quoted the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) heath and safety secretary Erick Gcilitshana saying: "It is unacceptable that mine workers are denied their basic human right to work in an environment that guarantees their safety and that instead they are expected to go to work to die."

In November and December 2015, Impala reported accidents at shaft 14 due to ground fall incidents.

Following the incidents, the company halted operations at the mine.

South African law requires mining companies to cease operations after fatalities, the news agency said.