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We are not at war with Sibanye - Zwane

Jan 19 2017 12:49
Lameez Omarjee

Randfontein – Section 54 mine stoppage notices are not intended to stifle economic growth, said Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane at a briefing about mining health and safety on Thursday.

This follows reports by MiningMX that Sibanye Gold [JSE:SGL] plans to issue the Department of Mineral Resources a R26m claim for losses because of unfair mine stoppages implemented at Kroondal Platinum Mines last year.

In response to this, Zwane said at the briefing: “Our aim is not to ensure businesses lose money during closure.”

But Zwane said mines should be responsible enough to stop operations themselves if spaces are dangerous.

“We cannot look on when people are dying. We will engage and on this basis we will continue to implement Section 54 where it is necessary,” he said.

“Where we can help proactively, we are ready. Our doors are open to help and ensure we are part and parcel to economic growth in this country.”

He added that the Department of Mineral Resources understood that with economic growth, there would be more jobs that can be saved and created.

He further said the fact that someone is approaching the courts shows the department is doing something.

“We are working to save the lives of people in South Africa… We are humble to listen to advice as how to move forward as a collective.”

READ: Mining safety first, profits second - Zwane

Zwane added: “We are not at war with Sibanye or AngloGold Ashanti. We want to ensure the real beneficiaries of laws in South Africa do benefit. That is our role as government.”

Chamber of Mines president Michael Teke said that health and safety is a priority in the industry.

“Until zero harm is achieved in the mining industry, we will not rest.”

Regarding the issue of Section 54, Teke said the Chamber of Mines and its members fully support it.

“We support the rule of law in our country. It is important to recognise the country has rules and regulations, it is important to recognise any instruction issued is a principle of proportionality. It must be in proportion to the infringement or the risk associated with the transgression identified.”

He added that fairness and proportionality should be important in this instance.

Xolile Mbonambi, acting chief inspector, added that the matter around Sibanye's intention to sue is considered a rumour.

“We don’t have details as to what are the reasons to sue a person who implements the law of this country. We aren’t really at this point in time in a position to say anything on the matter.”

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

sibanye gold  |  mosebenzi zwane  |  mine safety  |  health  |  mining
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