Killer mines need unions to agree to more mechanisation
Technology will have to play a major role to reach the target of zero fatalities in SA’s dangerously deep mines
SA mining companies have, on the whole, made tremendous strides in safety, nearing international benchmarks. The 51 fatalities during 2019, which mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe described as the lowest on record, is a major departure from the 81 the year before.
The more considered metric is the measurement of fatalities per million hours worked, which shows SA at 0.05 deaths per million hours. The previous year was 0.08. This puts SA within a whisker of the US, which had a 0.04 fatality rate in 2018.
It’s right to point out that 51 lives have been lost during the extraction of SA’s mineral wealth. It’s still far too high and all players in the department, labour and business want to get down to zero...