Two men were found dead Thursday after plunging down a "void" in a remote Australian zinc mine, in what colleagues described as a "devastating" end to a more than 24-hour rescue effort.

The miners were in a light utility vehicle which tumbled into an ore extraction tunnel on Wednesday at the Dugald River mine in Queensland, the facility's owner said in a statement.

"This is a devastating outcome and I want to extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to the families, friends, colleagues and loved ones of Trevor and Dylan," Perenti chief executive Mark Norwell said.

Trevor Davis, 36, and Dylan Langridge, 33, were fatally injured in the incident, which happened about 125 metres (410 feet) underground.

Perenti Group, the parent company of the mine operator MMG, said the two men were "valued team members and well respected" and had fallen 15 metres (50 feet) into a below-ground "void".

The Dugald River mine employs about 500 people near the isolated town of Cloncurry in western Queensland, about 20 hours' drive inland from the state capital Brisbane.

According to MMG, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the mine processes around 1.7 million tonnes of ore every year.

Mining is one of the bedrocks of Australia's economy -- the country holds almost 30 percent of the world's reserves of zinc, lithium and nickel.

Studies have found Australia's mining sector is one of the safest by international standards, but according to the government it is still the third deadliest industry in the country.