At least 20 employees of the mining giant De Beers died on Sunday in South Africa in a road accident, aboard a bus providing connections with the Venetia diamond mine, one of the largest in the country.
“A bus transporting employees of the Venetia mine was involved in an accident on Sunday afternoon ,” the Transport Department of Limpopo province (north) said in a statement. The accident “cost the lives of at least 20 mine employees” .
The cause has not yet been determined.
According to a spokesperson for the department contacted by AFP, the accident occurred around 4 p.m. GMT, about 25 km from the mine, in the town of Musina , located on the border with Zimbabwe in the far north of the country. “The bus collided with a truck ,” Vongani Chauke said.
South Africa has one of the most developed road networks on the continent but is among the worst performers in terms of road safety .
The Venetia mine, located in the bush near the border with Botswana and Zimbabwe, has been operated for more than 30 years by the De Beers group . It represents 40% of South Africa’s annual diamond production and has more than 4,300 employees, many of whom come from neighboring communities.
Formerly the largest open-cast mine in the country, the site has undergone a transformation aimed at making up for the scarcity of diamonds. De Beers invested two billion dollars in a mega underground mining project and ended open pit mining in December.
The group, which plans to extract four million carats per year, announced in July the start of diamond production from underground mines dug under the old open-air mine, providing access to rocks buried some thousand meters away. depth.