Chamber of Mines president Mike Teke has urged a continued focus by all parties on mine health and safety, reiterating that “Zero Harm is our aim”.Teke made this comment as the recent MineSAFE 2016 conference came to a close. The conference was hosted by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) in collaboration with the Association of Mine Managers of South Africa (AMMSA), the Mine Metallurgical Managers’ Association (MMMA) and the SA Collieries Managers’ Association (SACMA).

The third day of the conference, on 2 September 2016, was a celebration of achievements and recognition of performance in safety, health and environment.

The conference focuses on improving health and safety in the mining and metallurgy industry, and on minimising environmental impacts. The event is a platform for learning and allows the sharing of ideas on safety, health and the environment.

MineSAFE, which has run since 2011, aims to bring together the Department of Mineral Resources, the Chamber of Mines and its members, mine associations, unions, and health and safety practitioners at all levels from the industry to share best practice and successful strategies for zero harm and a value-based approach to health and safety. Teke added: “The Chamber is committed to the 2024 occupational safety milestones through which we seek to eliminate fatalities and reduce injuries. Every fatality is one too many.

“The Chamber and its members established the CEO Zero Harm Task Team to demonstrate the principle of leading mine health and safety from the top, and harness the achievement of the 2024 milestones on occupational health and safety.

“Whilst recognising that there is still much work to be done to achieve our quest for zero harm, we are encouraged by the mining sector’s 2015 landmark performance of reducing fatalities for the 8th consecutive year – of which the last three years have seen fatalities reduced to below 100, when mine mortalities have historically been over 100.

“We congratulate the companies that have been recognised for their sterling performance today at this year’s MineSAFE Industry Awards Day. The performance of these companies indicates that the industry’s goal of Zero Harm is achievable.

“We thank all the mining industry employees who not only commit to adhering to health and safety rules and regulations, but also support our quest to achieve and sustain zero harm. We are also grateful to the various mining associations for their efforts towards the achievement of the zero harm industry goal – including the Mines Rescue Services (MRS),” he concluded.