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Mine death at Kloof

Number Four shaft
at Kloof gold mine
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 February 2009 – Gold Fields Limited – one of the world’s largest un-hedged producers of gold with attributable production of 3.64 million oz per annum – says the main shaft headgear section at its Kloof mine has remained closed today after a worker fell to his death at the weekend.

Reuters quotes Gold Fields spokeswoman Marritt Claassens as saying that the mineworker plunged down Kloof’s main shaft on Saturday, after falling from the headgear section at the mine, which is near Johannesburg. “Production has not been affected,” she added.

An official report released earlier this month showed that mines in South Africa – the world’s top source of platinum and a major producer of gold – had a disappointing level of safety compliance. A total of 168 workers died in South African mines last year, down 24% from the previous year.

Kloof’s main shaft has just undergone a months-long repair of infrastructure to improve safety. The work, which finished in the quarter to end-December, led to reduced output of 151 700 ounces in the December quarter.

After Saturday’s incident, the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) ordered a temporary closure of the section. The DME has resorted to shutting mines and shafts temporarily after fatal accidents in a drive to reduce the death toll.

The National Union of Mineworkers said this latest fatality had raised the death toll at mines in South Africa to 29 this year.