Safety under the spotlight

Policing of safety in mines will begin as early as December when the legal audit protocols are completed, the Department of Minerals and Energy says.

Policing of safety in mines will begin as early as December when the legal audit protocols are completed, the Department of Minerals and Energy says.

"The idea is to check levels of legal compliance to occupational health issues by the mines," said chief inspector of mines Thabo Gazi.

The audit will be divided into two streams - legal and technical, and its "outcome will give an indication of the extent to which mines comply with health and safety requirements".

Last month, President Thabo Mbeki called on the department to conduct an audit of all mines in the country.

His call followed an incident at Elandsrand Mine near Carletonville, where 3200 mineworkers were trapped underground after a falling pipe column cut the power to their lift.

The same week 23 illegal miners were found dead in a disused shaft of St Helena Mine in Welkom.

As recently as Wednesday, two miners died at Kloof Mine's number four shaft in an explosion, taking mine deaths in October alone to over 15.

"The audit protocols we are developing are meant to address the scope of the audit, the resource requirement and consolidation of the audit outcome," Gazi said. - I-Net Bridge

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