Reuters International

GABORONE (Reuters) - Four mine workers were killed and six others critically injured in an accident at Botswana's state-owned BCL copper mine, the minister of energy and minerals said on Monday.

The ten employees were travelling underground in a mine shaft elevator on Sunday evening when the accident happened, Minster of Minerals and Energy Kitso Mokaila said in statement.

"The ministry has initiated investigations on the accident to get to the root cause and will contract an independent safety auditor to look into the safety of BCL mine,” Mokaila said.

Only one of the mine's four shafts was affected.

BCL is the country's only operational copper mine after two others were closed last year due to a slump in global commodity prices.

The mine employs over 6000 people and produced 31,000 tonnes of copper matte and 139,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate in 2015.

In April the mine said it planned to raise $250 million through a bond open to both local and foreign players to finance acquisitions.

(Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Joe Brock)

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