Far fewer are dying on mines, but then far fewer are working

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Far fewer are dying on mines, but then far fewer are working

Industry is right to be pleased with the 45% reduction in deaths so far in 2019, but employment has dwindled

Allan Seccombe

SA’s mining industry is right to be pleased with the 45% reduction in fatalities on its mines so far in 2019, but the number still gives cause for concern.

In the year to date, 41 people have lost their lives at SA’s mines. Compare this to the 484 people killed in 1994, and there’s little doubt there’s been a sea change in safety.

However, there’s a key driver that is little spoken of, which is the demise of SA’s gold mines. Gold output has fallen below 130 tons a year from 583 tons in 1994, with employment dropping more than two thirds to 112,000 people. There’s an argument that the reduced numbers of miners have greatly contributed to the decline in fatalities...

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