A security guard at the Foskor Mine in Phalaborwa, Limpopo was killed after an elephant trampled on him in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The man had been in a guard room at the mine around 04:00, with a guarding post manned by another security official across the road.
"The other security [guard] heard sounds of an elephant, he went out to inspect the sound and upon arrival he found an elephant outside the guard house," mine spokesperson Frans Mkhondo told News24 on Saturday.
Upon spotting the elephant, he ran to safety but realised the deceased was not in his guard room.
"He phoned for help for the other security guard. When security arrived, the elephant had disappeared and they found the deceased dead behind the guard house. He was trampled to death," Mkhondo explained.
The 45-year-old security guard, who has been identified as Eric Kgatla, was employed by a separate entity [Foskor Zirconia] which is contracted to Foskor Pty Ltd and which neighbours the Kruger National Park.
Kgatla's family members have been informed of his untimely death.
"Our premises are adjacent to the Kruger National Park, so animals do break the fence and move into our area," said Mkhondo.
"Lions were also spotted on the premises. They will be tracked down today - hopefully they will be darted and returned to the national park."
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe told News24 on Saturday that police have received no reports regarding the death.
The incident comes a day after Limpopo provincial government warned residents of Phalaborwa that 14 lions from the Kruger National Park had escaped.
The Limpopo government confirmed in a tweet that the lions were believed to have escaped and were seen roaming around the Phalaborwa Foskor Mine, News24 earlier reported.
ENCA's Michael Appel reports that rangers are currently on the scene in search for the two lions still on the loose.
UPDATE: Rangers are now on scene and will begin the process of tracking the #lions down. This will include putting bait out. It's a massive expanse they'll need to cover. Once they're located they'll be darted. As soon as we can bring you any pictures we will. @eNCA pic.twitter.com/7UfjUzUXwT-- Michael (@TheMikeAppel) June 8, 2019