LANSING, N.Y. — It’s been 20 days since 17 Cargill employees became stuck in a mine, about 900 feet down the 2,300-foot shaft.

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After about 10-hours, all employees were safely rescued and an investigation was launched into the cause of the malfunction that left Hoist #3 stranded.

Related: A beginner’s guide to the rescue of 17 workers from the Cargill Salt Mine

Cargill Spokesman Mark Klein said in an email Tuesday that the cause of the elevator malfunction is still being determined, and officials are still working on the elevator system.

Mining has not commenced since the incident, but trucks are being permitted to take salt from surface piles that have already been mined.

Klein said it is unclear when the mining will start again, but said officials are “moving slowly to be safe.”

He said in the email that employees are being paid during this time off.

“What we are looking at now is a structural or mechanical issue, rather than being related to electrical,” Klein said, in the days following the incident.

Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, said Jan. 7  that an inspector, field officer supervisor, several tech support experts, and shaft and elevator subject matter experts were part of the investigation into the elevator failure.

“Malfunction of these elevators are not uncommon,” she said, but what made the Lansing situation different from other failures was the number or people stuck and the amount of time it took to rescue them.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.