The Minerals Council South Africa reported 60 fatalities in 2020 compared with 51 a year earlier when the mining industry recorded its lowest recorded fatalities. The council said that the industry’s safety record had deteriorated with 32 fatalities in the year to date compared to 24 for the same time last year.
Council President Nolitha Fakude said “Unfortunately, due to the physical and mental fatigue largely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, safety and health numbers of members were regressing. In 2020, we, unfortunately, saw deterioration in mining safety performance in terms of fatalities. Furthermore, thus far, in 2021, we are seeing a worsening of the fatality trend. This is not acceptable to us, the Minerals Council and our members.”
Mining has been under pressure to meet their environmental, social and governance standards, resulting in the council adoption of Khumbul’ekhaya, a strategy to holistically deal with health and safety incidents.
Illegal mining activity on mine dumps and operating mines was also a challenge for the mining industry. Last month, police discovered the bodies of 20 zama zamas near a mine shaft in Orkney North West.