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Health News

Two Pamodzi workers die in fire at Orkney mine

By: Matthew Hill     19th June 2008 Black-owned miner Pamodzi Gold on Thursday reported that two workers died in a fire at its Orkney mine, in the North West province, on Wednesday. The JSE-quoted company had stopped all operations at the number-two shaft, and the cause of the fire was unknown and an investigation into the... 

Up to 90% of accidents a result of unsafe behaviour – Wits academic

By: Guy Copans     13th June 2008 About eighty to ninety percent of all accidents or incidents that occur in mines are a result of human behaviour, says Department of Mining and Engineering University of the Witwatersrand senior lecturer Phillip Frankel.  

Implats creating safety benchmark for mining industry

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     13th June 2008 Safety is paramount to the operations of platinum-miner Impala Platinum (Implats) in terms of remaining as the number two strategic player in the international platinum group metals market. 

Pathologist challenges Assmang’s denial of manganism among its workers

By: Margie Inggs     13th June 2008 Assmang’s argument that its workers are suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and not manganism, was dealt a major blow at the fifth sitting of the Department of Labour inquiry when pathologist Dr Reg Perumal gave evidence after performing a postmortem on the brain of one of the workers... 

Involvement of all stakeholders in implementing safety codes of practice urged

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     6th June 2008 Implementing codes of practice with the involvement of relevant stakeholders within a mining house or company is important, especially in enhancing health and safety, said differentiated corporate law firm, Brink Cohen Le Roux, senior associate Matthews Dikane at the Mine Health and Safety 2008... 

HudBay reports fatality at US mine

2nd June 2008 A miner was killed on Saturday as a result of a rockfall at Canadian miner HudBay Minerals' St Lawrence zinc mine, in Balmat, New York, the company said in a statement.  

Ice lowers cost of cooling deep mines, says engineer

By: Martin Creamer     30th May 2008 The use of ice to cool mines becomes particularly viable at depths below 2 000 m, says Mponeng’s engineering manager Pieter Geyser. 

R42m medical aid project for SA mine workers unveiled

By: Sapa     29th May 2008 An investment of R42-million was placed into a project for medical aid for mine workers on Thursday. This followed the signing of an agreement by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the South African Chamber of Mines, who injected the money into the project, and the National Union of... 

Assmang denies claims that Cato Ridge workers suffer from manganism

By: Chanel de Bruyn     26th May 2008 Ferromanganese producer Assmang said on Monday that it did not believe that any of its workers at its Cato Ridge smelter were suffering from manganism. The company said that its opinion was based on expert medical diagnoses, and that it would consider a number of options in this regard.  

Simmers’ workers to march at Buffelsfontein mine

By: Matthew Hill     26th May 2008 Workers at JSE- and TSX-listed Simmer & Jacks Mines (Simmers) would on Tuesday afternoon embark on an after-hours protest march and hand a memorandum to management over medical incapacity, wages for trained personnel, and worker accommodation at its Buffelsfontein mine. This came as the... 

DRDGold says E Rand mine’s worker attendance back to normal

By: Matthew Hill     26th May 2008 Midtier gold-miner DRDGold on Monday reported that worker attendance at its ERPM mine near Boksburg was back to normal, after a week of erratic turnouts cut production. A spokesperson for the company, James Duncan, said that the violent outbreaks in informal settlements that targeted foreigners... 

Health implications of asbestos-mining are far from over

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     23rd May 2008 Although asbestos mining was banned in South Africa in 2001, and regulations prohibiting the use, manufacture and the import and export of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials was gazetted in March, this fibrous mineral still poses a major threat to communities, especially in areas where... 

Adopting health and safety best practice will ensure realisation of zero-harm aspiration

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     23rd May 2008 While the mining industry in South Africa has committed itself to a zero harm and a value based approach to health and safety, a critical ingredient needed to turn this commitment into action is the implementation of the mining industry occupational safety and health (MOSH) best practise adoption... 

Manganese poisoning inquiry resumes

By: Sapa     22nd May 2008 A Department of Labour inquiry into exposure of workers to toxic manganese fumes and dust at the Assmang ferromanganese smelter near Durban will resume on Monday. Labour spokeswoman Zolisa Sigabi on Thursday said the inquiry would resume at the Cato Ridge Country Club about 40 km from Durban on... 

Lonmin hit by number of small smelter explosions, miner says not serious

By: Chanel de Bruyn     21st May 2008 The world's third-largest platinum producer, Lonmin, on Wednesday denied that there had been any "serious explosions" at its Merensky smelter or that it had failed to report any incidents to the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME). South African trade union Solidarity on... 

Health and safety review on the horizon for diversified miner

16th May 2008 Diversified mining group Xstrata, is committed to implementing a formal review process of major health, safety, environmental and community hazards by the end of 2008, to identify opportunities for improvement and ensure these processes are robust and effective. Five of its employees and four... 

Lamp room the entry point for mine health and safety

16th May 2008 Lead-acid battery manufacturer, Willard Batteries, states that the mining industry is coming under increased scrutiny owing to a series of accidents and incidents, which have caused mine managers to look at innovative ways to mitigate employees’ risk, below the earth’s surface. 

Local invention set to change the face of health and safety in mining

16th May 2008 Health and safety on South African mines could be significantly improved, following the development of a system which monitors and analyses, in real time, a host of environmental and physiological risk factors experiences by all miners. 

Gold producer reports an improvement in safety

16th May 2008 Twenty-nine mining-related accident fatalities were recorded during 2007 states gold producer Gold Fields’ health and safety report for 2007. This constitutes a fatal injury frequency rate of 0,19 for every million hours worked. All these fatalities occurred at the group’s South African... 

Trapped-miner location equipment developed

By: Fatima Gabru     16th May 2008 A newly developed trapped miner locator system is capable of locating trapped workers at the onset of the search and continuously tracking the miners’ during the process. The system was developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for the Mining Health Safety Council... 

Mining company’s commitment to safety delivers zero fatalities

16th May 2008 Opencast mining contracting company Concor Mining’s commitment from management and its workforce alike, has seen this company achieve a fatality injury frequency rate (FIFR) and a lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR), of zero on both counts over the last five years. 

Environmental and health integration serving up results

16th May 2008 As part of the merger process with mining major Kumba Resources and coal producer Eyesizwe Coal, a safety health and environment (SHE) integration project was launched at the beginning of 2007, resulting in a new vision and strategy states diversified miner Exxaro’s Annual Report for 2007. 

Presidential mine safety audits on schedule

By: Fatima Gabru     16th May 2008 The Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) has completed its auditing on 250 mines of about 333 high-risk mines. The audits were ordered by President Thabo Mbeki after 3 200 workers were trapped underground at gold producer Harmony Gold’s Elandsrand mine in 2007, when a falling pipe damaged... 

Gold producer reports reduced fatality rate for first quarter

By: Fatima Gabru     16th May 2008 The fatality rate for gold miner AngloGold Ashanti’s South African operations for the period January 2008 to April 2008 is, 0,1 per million man hours. 

Revolutionary boot leaves footprint on local market

16th May 2008 A new extra-large Sault boot with a size 11 toe cap, which is ideally suited for South African male feet which tend to be flatter and broader than in other countries, is being distributed by specialist importer and wholesaler of certified safety products, Bramhope. The newly designed outsoles... 

Mining industry still faced with severe challenges

16th May 2008 The high fatality rates in mining are still among the challenges facing South Africa’s mine occupational health and safety (OHS) sector, “There are still more than 200 lives being lost per year at South African mines,” says the Department of Minerals and Energy’s (DME’s) chief inspectorate for... 

Outlawed asbestos leaves trail of death, suffering, claims and mining shame 

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     16th May 2008 The Greeks termed the mineral asbestos, as the “miracle mineral”, which became increasingly used in the nineteenth century by a wide range of industries. South Africa was one of the major suppliers of asbestos to the world, having produced 97% of the world’s crocidolite, 100 %... 

Govt departments join forces to rid workplaces of silicosis

By: Dennis Ndaba     16th May 2008 The Department of Labour is working in close conjunction with the Department of Mineral and Energy to ensure that silicosis is dealt with effectively within general industry, as well as on the mines. 

New Angloplat CEO hopes to fix miner's safety reputation  

By: Matthew Hill     13th May 2008 CEO designate of the world's biggest platinum producer, 48-year old mining engineer Neville Nicolau, said on the day of the announcement of his appointment that "safety is our moral licence to operate". This came after his predecessor quit his job because of pressures around... 

New safety move may cut Gold Fields’ output

By: Matthew Hill     9th May 2008 JSE-listed miner Gold Fields would soon have its operations scrutinised in an external audit in a bid to improve its "unacceptable" safety record, and is also doing a review that could see it pull out of some pillar and remnant areas, which account for about one-fifth of its total... 

Mining industry says 95% of dust measurements will be below global limit by December

By: Dennis Ndaba     9th May 2008 Silicosis continues to be a major health challenge for South Africa's mining industry, despite the funds that have already been expended on trying to research the incurable occupational lung disease. The mining industry has declared that, by December this year, 95% of all exposure... 

Union leader lambastes employers over accidents

By: Guy Copans     9th May 2008 “Sometimes [mineworkers] are not regarded as human beings.” 

95% of dust measurements will be below global limit by December, mining industry declares

By: Dennis Ndaba     9th May 2008 Silicosis continues to be a major health challenge for South Africa’s mining industry, despite the funds that have already been expended on trying to research the incurable occupational lung disease.  

Gold Fields tests winder ropes at all mines after fatal accident

By: Liezel Hill     2nd May 2008 Gold miner Gold Fields expected to have completed thorough testing of all the winding ropes at its South African mines by Saturday, the company said on Friday morning. The Department of Minerals and Energy issued a directive ordering the safety checks, following an accident on Thursday in which... 

Drastic measures to avert the skills crisis 

By: Jonathan Faurie     2nd May 2008 Drastic measures to avert the current skills crisis that South Africa is experiencing, is taking root through an initiative between industry role-players. 

Benefits of hard line safety approach showing, says Anglo CEO Carroll

By: Martin Creamer     2nd May 2008 The benefits of her hard-line approach to mine safety are showing, says Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll. She points out that fatalities in Anglo American mines fell more than two fold in the second half of last year, after she sent shock waves through the mining industry by shutting... 

Arson to blame for many underground fires, say commentators 

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     2nd May 2008 Underground mine arson is a real threat in today’s mining industry, says fire technology and consulting services, Firelab. “Arson, as such, is a very sensitive subject but the reality is that it does take place,” says Firelab’s fire and industrial risk specialist Karel van... 

Nine killed in accident at Gold Fields' South Deep mine

By: Liezel Hill     1st May 2008 Nine people died at Gold Fields' South Deep gold mine on Thursday, bringing the number of fatalities this week at the company's operations to 14. The accident took place at about 10:00, when a rope on a subcage winder at the mine's Twin Shafts complex apparently failed, Gold Fields... 

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