Seven die in South African mines in 24 hours

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers has called on the mining industry to step up safety efforts, after seven people died in three separate accidents in the past 24 hours.

South Africa’s largest gold-miner, AngloGold Ashanti, on Thursday confirmed the death of a worker at its Tau Lekoa mine in North West province, which followed and five deaths at Aquarius Platinum and a fatality at Impala Platinum.

AngloGold Ashanti spokesperson Joanne Jones explained that the employee was inundated by a mud-rush, which occurred late on Wednesday. “Rescue operations were immediately put into place and the deceased was located in the early hours of Thursday.”

Jones said that an investigation and inspection into the cause of the accident was currently under way.

On Wednesday, Aquarius Platinum confirmed that five workers had died at its Marikana mine in Rustenburg, in a massive fall-of-ground accident which left two more injured.

The NUM also said that a worker had died at one of Impala Platinum’s mines owing to a fall-of-ground accident on Wednesday.
This adds up to the death of seven mineworkers in 24 hours in South Africa’s North West province.

The NUM said it was “shocked” and “highly perturbed” by the rising number of mineworkers killed in South African mines, and called for “serious action” from the Department of Mineral Resources.

“We need serious intervention from both the state and the mining industry. Workshops alone cannot help resolve the spate of mining accidents. Action should speak louder than words,” said the NUM health and safety chairperson Peter Bailey.

He added that the union would like to see criminal charges laid against people that were found guilty of negligence when it came to mine safety.

The NUM said that it would also like mineworkers to get more involved in setting up safety strategies and tactics, as these were the people risking their lives every day in the mines.

Mining companies are required to close the section of a mine were a fatality occurred to allow for a safety inspection.


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