South Africa's biggest mineworkers union said on Friday that a worker died on Thursday at a mine run by Impala Platinum when an air pipe fell on him, leading to the closure of shaft No. 14.

The Department of Minerals and Energy issued a section 54 notice to the company, which is a directive to close the affected mining area or shaft, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said in a statement.

Some 170 mineworkers died last year in various incidents in South Africa, which was a decline of 23 percent compared to 221 deaths in the previous year.

Two workers have died so far this year, the NUM said.

(Reporting by James Macharia)

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