mining
mining

Some members of South Africa’s Parliament on Sunday called for a legislated way of imposing punitive measures on mining companies responsible for mining disasters.

Companies found to have failed to put mechanisms in place to prevent fatalities must be punished, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources said.

“The mining companies need to invest more resources into research and development of technologies that would detect seismic events from early stage,” Committee Chairperson Sahlulele Luzipo said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.

This came after seven miners were killed at the Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein gold mine, near Carletonville, Gauteng Province, on Thursday following earthquakes.

A total of 13 miners were trapped underground. Six other miners were injured and rescued.

In February this year, two mine workers lost their lives at the same mine, according to Luzipo.

“The loss of lives in the sector cannot continue unchallenged,” said Luzipo.

He said members of his committee embarked on a week-long oversight visit to Gauteng from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 this year, focusing on mine health and safety.

During the visit, members of the committee saw technological devices designed specifically to detect early signs of seismic events, he said.

“It is against this backdrop that we strongly believe that through investment of resources into research and innovation, a solution could be found to prevent fatalities and loss of lives during seismic events,” Luzipo said.

Also on Sunday, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) lambasted the increasingly poor safety record at the mines, particularly at Sibanye-Stillwater.

The union said it will engage Sibanye-Stillwater on the issue.

The country’s mining sector recorded a total of 31 fatalities so far this year, according to the union.

“The figure is much higher compared to the same period last year, where we had 28 deaths,” said NUM Health and Safety Secretary Eric Gcilitshana.

Early this year, 955 miners were temporarily trapped at another Sibanye-Stillwater mine in Welkom, Free State Province, after an electric cable outage during a storm.

“We will be calling for discussions with the mine to raise our concerns,” Gcilitshana said. “There have been far too many fatalities at Sibanye mines, notably this year alone.” Enditem

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