20 of the 45 mining deaths so far in 2018 have been at Sibanye-Stillwater mines: Mantashe

20 of the 45 mining deaths so far in 2018 have been at Sibanye-Stillwater mines.
20 of the 45 mining deaths so far in 2018 have been at Sibanye-Stillwater mines.
Image: iStock images

The Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate is investigating and compiling a report on Sibanye-Stillwater as 20 out of the 45 mining deaths reported since the start of this year have occurred at the company’s mines.

This was announced by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe on Sunday during a media conference in Pretoria on the new Mining Charter.

Mantashe said this would allow for “appropriate action” and not “knee jerk” reactions.

“We are very worried about the fact that out of 45 fatalities thus far‚ 20 are from one company.”

Mantashe said the number of fatalities in the gold mining industry were “far ahead” of other mining sectors.

“Mining is not about rocks‚ it is about people. Once you lose that‚ you think that mining is about rocks‚ it’s about minerals‚ it’s about prices‚ then you have lost the plot … If you ignore human beings‚ you’ll have no mining.”

He added: “Minerals below the surface of the soil do not belong to anybody else. They belong to the state for the people as a whole.”

Sibanye-Stillwater said on Thursday that mine rescue teams had located and retrieved the body of a fifth employee who went missing and died at its Kloof Ikamva mine last week.

According to the new draft Mining Charter‚ mining companies have five years within which to increase black economic empowerment (BEE) ownership to 30%‚ and black South Africans must constitute 50% of board members‚ 20% of whom must be black women. The 50% black representation is carried down through the organisation to executive and senior management. For junior-level management‚ the target is set at 70%.

The new Mining Charter was released on Friday and is open for public comment for a month before it will be published in the Government Gazette.

Mantashe said on Sunday they are planning a summit from July 7-8 to get further input on the Mining Charter.

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