The investigation into the risks posed by seismic events in the gold mining areas was prompted by the earthquake measuring 5,3 on the Richter scale at DRDGold's North West operations, in the Klerksdorp district, in which 3 200 mineworkers had to be evacuated.
The seismic event and its aftershocks also shook the nearby town of Stilfontein, causing serious damage to several buildings.
Dr Ray Durrheim, who headed the investigation team, told the Minister and the assembled journalists, on Monday, that the chances were “extremely small” that natural forces caused the seismic event of March 9.
He also pointed out that seismic events would continue as long as mining continued, adding that such occurrences continued even after mining had been stopped, as they were likely to be triggered when worked-out mines flooded.
The report recommended that seismic monitoring networks should be improved and that monitoring should continue even after mines closed down.
Durrheim also pointed out that seismic hazards should be taken into account when the future use of mining land was being considered or when any new buildings were being designed.
Speaking at a media briefing Sonjica said that her department would study the report and that it would make a public statement in due course. She said that safety was a key priority for the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) and that deaths occurring from seismic events would only be reduced if the mining industry had an early-warning system in place. But while the technology was being prepared, Sonjica said that mining companies had to focus on their safety awareness programmes. The DME would also ensure that miners comply with the recommendations of the report, she said.