Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 August 2008 – AngloGold Ashanti Limited – the world’s third biggest gold producer – announced this morning that production at its Mponeng mine had been halted as workers held a memorial service for a colleague who died at the operation last week.
“It’s a day of mourning at Mponeng. There are no operations or production happening at the moment, and it may possibly last the whole day,” company spokesman Alan Fine told Reuters.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which represents the workers at the mine, has vowed to down tools and hold memorials at mines every time a worker dies in an incident. It is also planning a day of mourning at Tautona mine – scene of another fatal accident last week – but the date is still to be announced.
Mponeng produced 160 000 ounces of gold in the June quarter.
South Africa – the world’s top source of platinum and a major gold producer – has a poor safety record with 221 mine deaths last year, up from 200 in 2006. Three miners have died in separate accidents at three different mines in the past week.
The government has resorted to shutting down operations temporarily after fatal accidents to probe the mine’s safety or make necessary repairs.