JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Chamber of Mines (CoM) on Monday expressed concern over the rising number of fatalities in South Africa’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.
Over the last few weeks, several fall-of-ground incidents, triggered by seismic activity, had claimed several lives.
“This is particularly disappointing given the consistent improvement the industry has seen over the past two decades,” the chamber said in a statement, highlighting the progress that had been made over the last 25 years.
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 South Africa is home to the world’s deepest mines, the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) has injected more than R150-million into fall-of-ground research.
“On behalf of Chamber-member CEOs, I want to assure our employees, their families and our communities that, even though progress has been made, we recognise that much remains to be done and that every fatality is one too many,” said Anglo American Platinum CEO Chris Griffith.
The CoM said Griffith had informed the Chief Inspector of Mines of all efforts currently being made to reverse this trend.
“Among these and noting that fatalities from seismic events (rockbursts) have increased while rockfalls have decreased, AngloGold Ashanti South Africa head Chris Sheppard, sponsor of the Mining Industry Occupational Safety and Health fall-of-ground team, will lead a task team to develop a summary of rockburst leading practices and propose the best ways to share these efforts with all those who are involved in deep level mining,” the chamber added.