Mantashe lashes Sibanye after four miners die

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe.
Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe.
Image: IHSAAN HAFFEJEE/The Times

Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe on Friday urged Sibanye-Stillwater to take extra care during operations after a fatal accident at one of its mines.

"Mineral Resources Minister Mr Gwede Mantashe extends his condolences to the families and friends of workers at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein operations‚ who lost their lives after they were trapped underground following a seismic event at the mine yesterday‚" the department said in a statement.

"The gold sector has seen an increase in fatalities this year‚ with Sibanye-Stillwater as one of the main contributors. This suggests that greater attention be paid to issues of safety‚ particularly the protection of the lives of workers‚ as opposed to the insistence of chasing production."

Four miners died at a Sibanye-Stillwater mine outside Johannesburg after a seismic event‚ the company said on Friday.

The company had reported on Thursday that 13 workers had been trapped underground after three seismic events at its Driefontein operations close to Carletonville. Two employees are still missing.

"The Minister has urged rescue teams to continue to pursue rescue efforts for the remaining workers‚ while being mindful of safety‚" the department said.

"The Department’s health and safety inspectors are on site as rescue operations continue at Sibanye-Stilwater’s Driefontein operations this morning for the remaining workers still trapped underground.

"Seismic incidents accounted for about 30% of fatalities in 2017‚ and as a result the Minister has requested a team comprising the Department‚ Council for Geoscience‚ Mine Health and Safety Council‚ CSIR as well as rock engineers and seismicity experts‚ to look into this as a matter of urgency‚ in order to assist the industry to better anticipate and deal with seismic activities."

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