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49 Fatalities Recorded in SA’s Gold Sector To Date – Zwane

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has called for extraordinary measures to be taken to stem fatalities in the mining sector.
Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. ©Trevor Samson@Business Day. Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. ©Trevor Samson@Business Day.

Speaking at a health and safety Imbizo at Sibanye Gold’s Driefontein operation last week, Minister Zwane said it was regrettable that the company, which was the best performer in the gold sector in 2015, was now leading with fatalities thus far in 2016.

Since the beginning of this year, a total of 49 fatalities have been reported by the sector, with Sibanye Gold accounting for 10 of those. This time last year, 42 fatalities had been reported by the sector.

“This is a serious setback for the sector, which recorded its lowest ever fatalities in 2015. We should not place value on profits over the lives of workers.

“While we are aware of the endeavours being made by the industry, we remain concerned about the safety performance of our mines,” the Minister said.

This year, the gold and platinum sectors have recorded 20 and 17 deaths respectively to date, the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) said in a statement.

The DMR stated that it is continuing to strengthen enforcement compliance at mines, and has added 38 inspectors this year to enhance enforcement.

It said that, together with stakeholders, it will host the Mine Health and Safety Tripartite Summit before the end of this year, in an effort to review progress made thus far to achieve the goal of zero harm.

Tough measures to curb illegal mining in Limpopo

Meanwhile, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has welcomed strides being made to halt illegal mining in Limpopo.

This follows efforts by the DMR, in partnership with the South African Police Service, in issuing an order for illegal chrome mining operations on the R37 between Polokwane and Burgersfort, Limpopo to cease. The operations were taking place at Winterveldt 417 SK, Jaglust 418 SK and Zeekoegat 421 SK farms.

Members of the DMR’s compliance unit and law enforcement agencies said it raided the illegal mining sites last week, while the local Sheriff served those operations with a court order ceasing all operations immediately.

“Criminal cases will be opened against those found to be operating illegally. Law enforcement agencies will further investigate those cases with the aim of bringing to book the perpetrators.

“Illegal mining is prohibited in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act and the National Environmental Management Act. The perpetrators were operating without a mining permit, prospecting right or mining right as well as no environmental authorisation,” the DMR said in a statement.

It added that it is ‘always ready to assist’ communities. “In terms of the MPRDA, communities can lodge a preferential prospecting or mining right and the Department will assist accordingly, in cases where there are no existing applications, permits or rights.

“The Department will continue to collaborate with law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to implement measures, such as these, to ultimately eradicate illegal mining,” the department stated.



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