Mine deaths 'avoidable'

Namhla Tshisela and Sapa

Namhla Tshisela and Sapa

The death of 13 miners this year at the Driefontein gold mine near Carletonville could have been avoided, the National Union of Mineworkers said yesterday.

This follows a rock-fall at the mine on Saturday which trapped three miners underground. Two of the miners were rescued but one was still trapped yesterday afternoon.

NUM regional chairman Deon Boqwana said the mine was prone to accidents that could easily have been avoided.

"It is not fair that more money is spent training senior employees than labourers, who spend more time underground," he said.

Boqwana said the union was not satisfied with safety standards at the mine and accused the management of putting profit margins before safety.

"The safety of workers comes first, then production follows. If one life is lost, it affects at least 10 other people who depend on them for support," he said.

Goldfields spokesman Andrew Davidson said tremors measuring 1,5 on the Richter scale had caused the accident.