At least 76 mineworkers have been killed and 2 156 sustained serious injuries since the beginning of the year, says the Chamber of Mines of South Africa.
The death toll and injuries include two miners who were killed and six who sustained injuries as a result of a rockfall following a seismic event at AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng Mine in Carletonville last Thursday.
AngloGold Ashanti Vice President: Group Communications Strategy & Business Development Chris Nthete said: “On Thursday at roughly 9.30am there was a rockfall following a seismic event at our Mponeng mine in Carletonville which affected eight employees, six of whom were rescued. Regrettably, two colleagues were killed.”
According to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), 2016/17 Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate’s report, the industry employed 433 980 mineworkers in 2016, and recorded 73 fatalities and 2 846 injuries as compared to 77 fatalities and 3 139 serious injuries in 2016.
The report states that classification of fatalities during 2016 was as a result of fall of ground, transportation and mining, as well as general accidents at 33%, 32% and 22% respectively.
Chamber of Mines spokesperson Charmane Russell said: “The latest data that we are aware of is, sadly, that 76 individuals have died in mine-related accidents this year. We are extremely disappointed that we have seen a regression in the consistent improvements we have seen over the past decade.”
NUM national spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said: “We are worried about the fatalities of mineworkers, because they do not seem to stop. We are concerned that more than 70 mineworkers have died since the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, they have left behind orphans and widows without a breadwinner at home.”
DMR spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said the department is deeply worried about the fatalities in the mining industry.
“The figure is unacceptably high and I urge owners of mining companies to do everything possible to prevent deaths and injuries to miners,” said Hadebe.