Former Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: GCIS

Business In The News South Africa

#HarmonyGold: Mineral resources committee “deeply worried” about mines health and safety

JOHANNESBURG, August 29 – The portfolio committee on mineral resources said on Monday that it was “deeply worried” about the sporadic seismic events that continue to claim lives in the mining sector, calling for a thorough investigation of the recent accident at a Harmony Gold mine.
This comes after three out of five mineworkers trapped underground were confirmed dead on Monday, at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu Mine near Carletonville in Gauteng.
The 1.8 magnitude seismic event, at about 3,100 metres below the surface, occurred at around 10.30am on Friday, causing a 10-metre fall of ground. 
Mine rescue teams brought the first body to the surface on Saturday. Another body was retrieved on Sunday. The third body was brought to the surface on Monday morning. Two miners remain unaccounted for.
The portfolio committee, through its chairperson Sahlulele Luzipo, expressed condolences to the families and friends of the three mine workers who died.
 
“There has to be a way to prevent these events, a research study should be conducted on how to detect them,” Luzipo said in a statement.
“We appreciate diligent work by the rescue team who did not only respond swiftly to the accident, but continued to put their own lives at risk in the quest to rescue the workers. We wish them strength to continue the search in order to ensure that all the five trapped workers are accounted for.”
 
Luzipo will visit the mine on Tuesday and meet with management in order to establish the circumstances surrounding the collapse. 

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane on Monday appealed for “extra caution” on health and safety in mines, saying he was concerned about tragic accidents in the industry and his department would increase inspections.
Zwane made his comments in reaction to the fall of ground incident at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu Mine, near Carletonville in Gauteng on Friday. Five miners were trapped underground. Three bodies have since been recovered.
The 1.8 magnitude seismic event, about 3,100 metres below the surface, occurred at around 10.30am causing a 10-metre fall of ground.
Mine rescue teams brought the first body to the surface on Saturday. Another body was retrieved on Sunday. The third body was brought to the surface on Monday morning. Two miners remain unaccounted for.
“We are concerned about the accidents we are seeing in the industry. As we head towards the last quarter of the year, we are asking that employers and the workforce remain alert and continue to prioritise safety, and as the regulator we will be increasing inspections,” Zwane said.
“We continue to engage with business and labour unions to look at how we can together ensure that the positive strides we have made on health and safety are not reversed.”
Harmony Gold said the rescue operation for the remaining two workers continues.
The Department of Mineral Resources’ health and safety statistics for 2016 released in January suggest that the major gold and platinum mines remain the main contributors to accidents and the subsequent loss of lives.
As many as 73 fatalities were reported in 2016 compared to 77 during the previous year.
The gold sector had 30 fatalities, platinum had 27, coal had four, while and other mines, including diamonds, chrome, copper and iron ore recorded 12 deaths for the year.
But the overall figure did not include the three mineworkers who remain trapped underground at Lily Gold Mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga.

ANA

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