Montreal: A total of 34 employees performing maintenance on a Canadian potash mine have been trapped for approximately 24 hours after the breakdown of a service shaft, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The workers “have been safely underground and on stand-down since yesterday afternoon,” said Will Tigley of Saskatoon-based fertilizer firm Nutrien.

The incident occurred during summer maintenance at the company’s Cory mine, located southwest of Saskatoon, the largest city in the province of Saskatchewan, in the Canada’s central grassland region.

The miners are stuck at the bottom of the mine approximately one kilometre underground.

“I can just confirm that the service shaft stopped operating,’ Tigley said.

“It’s not really a rescue operation. It’s more of just getting the shafts operating again in a safe and practical manner and our teams on site are working on that.”