The mining industry is the new killing field for workers

Two miners were killed at mines in Rustenburg, North West, at the weekend, prompting the National Union of Mine workers to label the mining industry the new killing fields for its workers.

The deaths, on Saturday and Sunday, bring to nine the number of workers killed while working underground in the first few weeks of this year.

NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said yesterday that the trade union was pinning its hopes on the amendment of the Mine Health and Safety Act, which would be promulgated this year.

The act would make industry chief executives and their managers criminally liable if found guilty of negligence, causing serious injuries or death.

“Such a high number of deaths in the mines reflects a new culture in which mines have become killing fields in this country.

“We hope the amendment of the Mine Health and Safety Act will solve this problem because it will bring punitive measures in case of serious injuries or death if found that the mine had been negligent,” said Seshoka.

A worker died at Samancor Millsell Chrome mine on Saturday, in what is reported to be a fall of ground. The miner died while trying to prevent a rock that had dislodged from falling. Instead it fell on him.

Samancor spokesperson Sunel Pretorius promised to talk to Sowetan later about the details of the incident, but did not, despite numerous attempts to reach her.

In another incident on Sunday, DJ Drotsky, 29, a surveyor at Anglo Platinum’s Thembelani 1, died in an ore-pass shaft while clearing an obstruction.

Mine spokesperson Thabisile Phumo said a full investigation was being conducted to establish what could have caused the accident.


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