Resources Minister Gary Gray has issued a statement apologising for saying that former South African President Nelson Mandela had died.
Gray made the slip at the Minerals Council of Australia's official dinner in place of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and immediately after the ALP leadership meeting.
In a statement, Gray said he was "deeply sorry" for the error.
"I apologise unreservedly and am deeply sorry to have relayed what I thought was reliable advice," Mr Gray said.
The statement added that Gray would relay his apology to the South African High Commissioner, Federal Parliament and the Minerals Council of Australia.
Mandela remains in critical but stable condition in hospital at the time of publication.