Johannesburg - Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] was been the biggest
contributor to mine deaths in SA so far this year, Deputy Minister of Mineral
Resources Godfrey Oliphant said according to IOL.
Five miners died at the Ya Rona shaft in the west section of
the Kloof Driefontein Complex (KDC) last month following a fire. The mine
reopened on Monday but the Ya Rona shaft remains closed as the fire has not
“We find it unacceptable that Gold Fields still continues to
be the major contributor of the carnage of workers in the mining sector, with
10 workers having lost their lives this year to date. It is also of great
concern that Driefontein mine remains the main source of (the) death of mine
workers, followed by Gold Fields’ Beatrix operations,” Oliphant was quoted as
Speaking at a memorial service held for the five employees
who died at the KDC West mine, Oliphant said there had been 63 deaths across
the mining industry this year. There were 27 deaths in the gold industry, 21 at
platinum mines, seven at the countries collieries and eight at various other
Oliphant said it was regrettable that most deaths were in
gold and platinum mines, since it was expected such mines would have proper
health and safety measures in place.
"The question... in my mind is whether the mining
industry is genuinely committed, beyond various statements that they have been
made, (to) improving health and safety of mine workers.
"In a country where a better life for all has been
promised, we cannot continue robbing family members of their loved ones."
On Monday Gold Fields reported that the Department of
Mineral Resources had agreed to the re-opening of KDC West. The Ya Rona shaft
would, however, remain closed while investigations into the cause of the
Oliphant said: “An inquiry will be held into this tragedy to
determine the root causes and to ensure that it is not repeated ever again. We
expect heads to roll if any negligence has been found on the part of any
He said now was the time for mine executives to take
responsibility for what was happening in their organisations, in respect of the
health and safety of mineworkers.
Earlier this year Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu
said CEOs of mining companies should be held liable for avoidable fatalities.
“Fatalities which could have been avoided, we feel that CEOs
must be held liable for those accidents, because they are responsible for the
operations. As they show interest in how they grow the profits they must also
show interest in safety,” Shabangu told Reuters in an interview.
Gold Fields shares were down 2.10% in early trade on
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