File image: Reuters

Palaborwa Mining Company said only one person was killed in an accident at its Limpopo operations on Sunday, SABC radio reported.

Keith Matole confirmed that one miner was killed, but said two others were trapped following a rockfall at another shaft.

“There was an employee who was found dead underground in the crushers.”

Police were called and were investigating the cause of death.

One of the two trapped miners were rescued.

Earlier, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said three miners were crushed to death at the mine.

Regional secretary in the North East, William Mabapa said the accident occurred at the copper mine on Saturday's night shift.

The miners were investigating a blockage in a rock crusher and were standing beneath it, trying to unblock it.

“When they managed to unblock it, the rocks that were in it fell on them, crushing them to death,” he said.

All the men were NUM members.

Mabapa said the department of mineral resources was expected to probe the incident. - Sapa