SIBANYE-Stillwater was rocked by yet another death earlier in the week, bringing the total number of fatalities for the year to 20. The mining company confirmed that the miner died at its Driefontein operations near Carltonville.
“One of our employees entered a gully and they were busy with the night shift cleaning, so basically he was hit by a scraper. He was fatally injured,” spokesperson James Wellsted said. Wellsted said the death was still under investigation.
The death toll at Sibanye-Stillwater’s operations this year alone stands at over 20, close to half of the fatalities in the entire mining industry. “For reasons still to be determined‚ he entered a scraper path and was caught by the scraper. The board and management of Sibanye-Stillwater extend their sincere condolences to the families‚ friends of our deceased colleague. This is another sad incident and all efforts are being focused on addressing this perplexing increase in safety incidents,” he said.
Wellsted said they would be joining hands with mineral resources and other parties to look at the issue of safety at it’s operations. “We look forward to the support and contribution of all our stakeholders at the second safety summit which has been convened by Sibanye-Stillwater in order to collectively address these incidents‚ prevent the loss of lives at our operations and re-establish our safety record,” he said.
Parliament’s mineral resources committee has meanwhile called for action to be taken against mines that contravene the Safety Act. Committee chairperson Sahlulele Luzipo says other means of accountability other than prosecution should be considered.
“We need to go beyond the criminal procedure matter, deduct points, give the licence. Parts of the conditions in the licence must include your mine’s health and safety record. And once your mine’s health and safety record project that we’re not performing well, then there should be consequences,” said Luzipo.
The committee has also lashed out at the minerals department for not submitting reports from previous mining accidents. It further called for the suspension Sibanye’s operating licence.
“The big question here is that is there any commitment to make it a point that this thing is resolved? Just last week we were there talking about the incident that happened when five workers lost their lives and now to get this news again that another mineworker has lost his life is quite shocking. We’re looking also at speeding up the process of bringing the bill to Parliament, so we can see how we’re able to fix the legislation in this case,” said Luzipo.
Earlier this month, five mineworkers died at Sibanye- Stillwater’s Kloof Ikamva Mine when they entered an abandoned shaft. The company’s operations are now responsible for 21 of 45 mine fatalities in 10 incidents since February this year.