An employee has been fatally injured in a fall of ground accident at Harmony Gold Mining Company’s Doornkop mine near Krugersdorp this morning.
Investigations into the accident are underway, and all production at the mine has been stopped by management, Harmony Gold said in a statement.
Accidents at Doornkop mine
In February, nine workers died at Doornkop mine after a tremor caused the shaft to collapse and an underground fire broke out. The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) launched an investigation into the incident to look at issues of safety at the mine. This investigation involved representatives of the company, organised labour and the DMR health and safety directorate.
In response, hundreds of mourners gathered outside the mine to mourn the lost workers, where union leaders expressed concern about safety in South African mines, even though the industry has stressed that their track record has improved.
NUM urges mining companies to improve safety
Following this latest incident at Doornkop, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has again called on employers in the mining industry to improve safety measures.
“It is unfortunate that at this point in time we still continue to have many people losing their lives in the workplace. We are appealing to the industry to apply its systems to ensure that nobody comes with a black bag from underground,” NUM Health and Safety Secretary Erick Gcilitshana.
Safety in South African mining
According to statistics, fatalities in the mining sector have been reducing over time. In 2003, the sector pledged to reduce fatalities by 20% per annum in an effort to reach similar levels to those of mining companies elsewhere in the world, such as Australia, Canada and the US.
At that time, the death toll from mining accidents was 270 deaths for the year, but this was reduced by 24% by 2010, with 128 fatalities that year, according to figures released by the Department of Mineral Resources.
Many illegal mineworkers are also killed every year in South Africa, raising concerns about the dangers of illegal mining in the country.