Rising mine fatalities a cause for concern
Publish date: 08 November 2017
Issue Number: 212
Diary: Legalbrief Workplace
The Chamber of Mines (CoM) has expressed concern over the rising number of fatalities at SA’s mines after recent accidents brought the number of fatalities to date this year to 76, overtaking the 73 deaths reported for the same period in 2016. Mining Weekly reports that over the past few weeks, several fall-of-ground incidents, triggered by seismic activity, had claimed several lives. Between 1993 and 2016, the number of fatalities in the industry declined by around 88%, while fatalities as a result of fall-of-ground incidents declined by 92%. To further minimise the possibility of fall-of-ground incidents, which have been a major focus for industry over many years as SA is home to the world’s deepest mines, the Mine Health and Safety Council has injected more than R150m into fall-of-ground research. The CoM said Anglo American Platinum CEO Chris Griffith had informed the Chief Inspector of Mines of all efforts currently being made to reverse this trend.
At least 76 mineworkers have been killed and 2 156 sustained serious injuries since the beginning of the year, says the CoM. The Citizen reports that the death toll and injuries include two miners who were killed and six who sustained injuries as a result of a rockfall following a seismic event at AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng Mine in Carletonville last Thursday. CoM spokesperson Charmane Russell said: ‘The latest data that we are aware of is, sadly, that 76 individuals have died in mine-related accidents this year. We are extremely disappointed that we have seen a regression in the consistent improvements we have seen over the past decade.’ NUM national spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said: ‘We are worried about the fatalities of mineworkers, because they do not seem to stop. We are concerned that more than 70 mineworkers have died since the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, they have left behind orphans and widows without a breadwinner at home.’ Department of Mineral Resources spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said the department is deeply worried about the fatalities in the mining industry. ‘The figure is unacceptably high and I urge owners of mining companies to do everything possible to prevent deaths and injuries to miners,’ said Hadebe.