Members of 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.
According to the council, the industry’s safety record had deteriorated with 32 fatalities in the year to date compared to 24 for the same time last year.
Speaking at the virtual National Day of Health and Safety in Mining 2021, 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 a 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,” Fakude said.
The mining sector has been under pressure to meet the environmental, social and governance standards, resulting in the council adoption of Khumbul’ekhaya, a strategy to holistically deal with health and safety incidents.
Themba Mkhwanazi, chairperson of the CEO Zero Harm Forum, said that there had been regression despite a shutdown and reduced operations during the early stages of the lockdown.
“This regression was in all commodities, except platinum, which has shown improvements,” Mkhwanazi said.
He said the gold sector was the most affected with 15 fatalities, followed by platinum with seven fatalities, and coal with five fatalities and other commodities with five