Solidarity concerned about safety in SA mines

Solidarity concerned about safety in SA mines.
Solidarity concerned about safety in SA mines.
Image: iStock images

The trade union Solidarity has expressed its grave concern about safety in South African mines in the wake of the recent accident at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Masakhane shaft at Driefontein in Gauteng that claimed seven lives.

Advocate Paul Mardon‚ Solidarity’s deputy general secretary for occupational health and safety‚ said the union was particularly concerned about seismic activities in deep-level mines that cause falls of ground leading to mining fatalities and injuries.

He was commenting after 13 miners were trapped underground on Thursday at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Masakhane mine in Driefontein near Carletonville on the West Rand following three seismic events. Seven of the miners died while six are in a stable condition in hospital.

Mardon said that despite the many steps that had been taken to ensure mine safety and a constant decline in mining fatalities and mine injuries that had been achieved up to 2016‚ the trade union remained concerned about the increase in fatalities at mines since 2017.

“Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has not yet announced the official health and safety figures for mines in 2017‚ but according to provisional indications‚ 86 miners died in South African mines in 2017‚ compared to the 73 mining fatalities in 2016; the 77 in 2015; and the 84 in 2014. Preliminary figures for 2018 also look bleak with 33 fatalities recorded to date‚ compared to the 28 during the corresponding period last year‚ and the 25 during the corresponding period in 2016‚” Mardon added.

Solidarity also expressed its concern about the lack of high-level talks between the various stakeholders in the mining industry to promote health and safety.

“The former Minister of Mineral Resources postponed high-level talks in this regard‚ and no such talks have yet taken place with the new minister‚” Mardon said.


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