JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said that 2 000 of its members would march to the Department of Labour in Boksburg on Thursday “to demand government intervention at DRDGold’s East Rand Proprietary Mine (ERPM)”.
On November 4, the JSE-listed gold producer suspended all underground drilling and blasting operations at the troubled mine, situated east of Johannesburg, owing to pumping problems.
The suspension followed a warning by CEO-designate Niël Pretorius in October that DRDGold might have to halt underground drilling and blasting indefinitely, after water pumping was stopped at ERPM’s South West Vertical shaft on safety concerns – two employees were asphyxiated at the shaft in September.
ERPM currently employs 1 700 workers.
But NUM energy sector coordinator Job Matsepe argued that the action was taken not due to fundamental problems at the mine, but rather in retaliation to government’s imposition of a section 54 notice on DRDGold in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act.
The NUM would hand over a memorandum to the Department of Minerals and Energy, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Ekhuruleni Municipality, DRDGold management and the Department of Labour on Thursday.