Minerals Council of SA reveals priority interventions for mine safety

The number of deaths recorded so far in the industry has raised alarm, more so among trade unions that blame mining companies for the fatalities.

Miners at work in a mine shaft. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The Minerals Council of South Africa said that it was implementing eight priority interventions to arrest the regression in mine safety in the country.

Nineteen people have died at different mines in South Africa since the beginning of the year.

The figure stood at 18 in the same period last year.

The council was briefing reporters about its plans on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The number of deaths recorded so far in the industry has raised alarm, more so among trade unions that blame mining companies for the fatalities.

The sector recorded 74 fatalities last year, an increase from 60 in 2020 following an all-time low of deaths in 2019.

This comes just as the industry was beginning to see the results of its “zero harm” strategy that was implemented when the figure surpassed 100 around 2009 and 2010.

The mining council’s Roger Baxter: "The first one is visible felt leadership, the second one is stopping unauthorised and uncontrolled access to old mining areas which are not routinely mined and to rigorously and effectively conduct what we call proper risk assessments and implement controls where work in previously mined areas is routinely undertaken."

On the other hand, the council said that 749 employees in the sector succumbed to COVID-19 complications.