African News Agency
2 minute read
28 Jan 2017
11:58 am

Chamber of Mines concerned about inappropriate application of regulations

African News Agency

The industry’s goal was to ensure that regulations were properly implemented by all parties, including the inspectorate.

AFP / Karen Bleier
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The Chamber of Mines says it is perplexed by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane’s statement on Wednesday directed against two of its members, and indeed, in reference to the industry as a whole.

“In particular, the chamber is concerned about minister Zwane’s allegation that companies are flouting safety laws and regulations and that their actions ‘cheapen lives of mineworkers’,” the chamber said in a statement.

The chamber and its members viewed safety as their most significant priority and prioritised safety above production at all times. The extensive efforts displayed by companies at the most senior levels, the significant resources applied to safety, and the substantial progress made in reducing fatal accidents and injuries was ample evidence of this, it said.

“We and all our members are aware that notwithstanding significant improvements in safety outcomes over the past two decades much more remains to be done to achieve the goal of zero harm.

“The chamber and its members are concerned about the inappropriate application of regulations where section 54s, for example, are applied in such a way that is not proportionate to the context of the alleged infraction.

“A recent court judgment noted that the law requires an inspector objectively to establish that a state of affairs exists which would lead a reasonable person to believe that it may endanger the health or safety of any person at the mine and then to contemplate an instruction that is proportionate to the infraction and the risk that it poses to health and safety,” the chamber said.

The industry’s goal was to ensure that regulations were properly implemented by all parties, including the inspectorate.

“We would expect that the minister would share that objective. No doubt the courts will continue to provide clarity on these matters and we would hope that all parties would welcome and accept such clarity in the interests of the industry and our collective futures,” the chamber said.

Business Day reported on Thursday that just days after saying the mineral resources department was “not at war” with Sibanye Gold and AngloGold Ashanti, Zwane laid into both companies for “refusing to comply with the mining laws of the country”.

Zwane’s comments came after Sibanye subsidiary Sibanye Platinum lodged summonses against the minister and three high-ranking safety officials for R26.8 million to recompense the company for losses incurred during a safety stoppage at the Kroondal platinum mine that the company argued was not proportional with the Mine Health and Safety Act.

AngloGold Ashanti successfully overturned a safety stoppage at its Kopanang mine in the Labour Court last year, Business Day reported.

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