South Africa records lowest ever mining fatalities in 2019

South Africa’s ministry of mines has announced that the industry recorded the lowest number of mine deaths on record in 2019, with 51 people killed compared to 81 in the previous year.

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe delivered the 2019 mine health and safety statistics on Friday morning in Pretoria.

“The lowest recorded fatalities in 2019 at 51 shows that there’s a possibility of a fatality-free mining industry and that’s what we are striving for,” the ministry cited Minister Gwede Mantashe as saying in comments posted on Twitter.

In a breakdown of the fatalities, the ministry said 19 people died in gold mines last year, 19 in platinum mines, seven in coal mines and there were six fatalities in other types of mine.

The news is a rare bright spot in South Africa’s beleaguered mining industry, which is facing spiraling costs, labour unrest and power insecurity stemming from the Eskom supply crisis.

Following the fatalities update, South Africa’s mining industry body reaffirmed the industry’s commitment to Zero Harm – a forum created to put forward measures to holistically address health and safety.

“While the industry’s safety and health performance during 2019 is a significant progress on what we have been able to achieve in the past, we recognise that our journey is far from over,” said Minerals Council South Africa CEO Roger Baxter.