Mining sector avoids huge job losses

SOUTH Africa's mining sector has shed close to 30000 jobs due to the global economic downturn, but avoided greater losses because of measures put in place by the government and companies, a senior official said.

SOUTH Africa's mining sector has shed close to 30000 jobs due to the global economic downturn, but avoided greater losses because of measures put in place by the government and companies, a senior official said.

Sandile Nogxina, director general of South Africa's mines department, also urged mining firms to improve miners' safety.

"If you recall around December last year there was a projection we would lose about 150000 jobs by now," Nogxina said during a visit to Luanda by a South African business delegation.

"But because of the initiative that we took in December ... we have managed to ensure that until now we have lost close to about 30000 jobs," he said.

On mine safety, Nogxina said South African mining companies were not doing enough to curb fatalities. Some 120 mine workers have died this year, compared with 168 last year.

"Mining companies can do better than they are doing right now."

He said changes to safety legislation would mean hefty fines for deaths due to negligence but said the proposals had yet to be signed into law. - Reuters

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