Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  16 Nov 2009

RESOURCES: Serious Accidents a Fatal Problem in Mines


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Although there have been fewer mining fatalities in the first ten months of the year compared to the same period last year, the ratio of fatal accidents compared to the total number of accidents is higher this year than the previous year, the trade union Solidarity said today. Meanwhile, the so-called silly season – the last two months of the year in which mining accidents traditionally show a sharp increase – still lies ahead.

According to Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans, there were 2 691 mining accidents in the first ten months of the year in which 143 mineworkers died. By comparison, there were 3 257 mining accidents during the same period in 2008 in which 148 mineworkers died.

According to Solidarity, South African mines can by no means be satisfied with the current level of mining fatalities. “Although the number of accidents in the first ten months of the year is down 17% compared to last year, the number of fatal accidents has dropped by only 3% and the ratio has also not decreased along with the number of accidents in general,” Kleynhans said.

Solidarity also warned that mines and mine workers should regard the so-called silly season spanning November and December as a critical period for increasing mining safety. “If mining companies do not take serious steps to focus on safety during this season, mining fatalities will increase until the end of the year and the number of fatalities could exceed that of 2008,” Kleynhans explained.

The trade union has also called on platinum and gold mines in particular to drastically increase safety during the last two months of the year. According to data from the Department of Mines, there have been 37 deaths at platinum mines up to the end of October this year, compared to the 32 recorded over the same period last year. In addition, the number of accidents at these mines has also increased by 18% from 1 053 in 2008 to 1 243 in 2009. However, the gold industry remains a principal victim of mining fatalities, with 67 deaths already recorded in the sector this year, while 13 deaths have been reported in the coal sector and 26 in other sectors.


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