Mantashe addresses higher fatality rate
Mining News Pro - Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has expressed concern about the increased number of fatalities in the mining industry this year, compared with last year, during a virtual principals meeting.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy convenes a health and safety summit twice a year.

During the latest summit, held virtually, it was revealed that there have been 52 fatalities so far this year, one more than in 2019.

“Though the industry did not record a disaster this year, more worrying to us is the significant number of multiple fatalities in 38 fatal accidents, compared with 42 last year,” Mantashe stated.

The principals of the meeting, including senior officials of the department, captains of the mining industry and sector labour organisations, cautioned against complacency and called for greater cooperation among all stakeholders.

Mantashe noted a trend to rush to increase production, with people dying in the process, when the health and safety of persons at the mines should be prioritised at all times.

The Minister called for investment in new technologies to improve health and safety records.

“We must not be allergic to new technologies. We must equip our workers to adjust to new technologies so that they can be custodians of the new jobs created by new technologies,” he stated.

He further called for special attention to the safety of women in the mining industry and in society. Mantashe mentioned that the safety equipment design and actual allocation of tasks to women were of utmost importance.

Meanwhile, the principals cautioned against the targeting of vulnerable workers for retrenchment.

Addressing the issue, the Minister said mineworkers put their lives on the block to convert the investment by shareholders into wealth. “They must be recognised for their sacrifices,” he urged, adding that the industry must welcome the idea of creating areas for people living with disabilities out of respect to workers.

Mantashe also reiterated his department’s commitment to formalising small-scale and artisanal miners, which is a necessary intervention to allow people to continue being productive and contribute to economic growth.

In closing, the convenors said summits were not resolution-making platforms, but rather provide the opportunity for engagement on proposals for the consideration of the collective.

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