Mine deaths tally shows big drop

[miningmx.com] — SOUTH Africa’s 2010 mine deaths fell by nearly a quarter compared with the previous year, official data showed on Thursday, although the fatality rates are still high compared to industrialised countries.

Data from the department of mineral resources showed that 128 miners died in 2010, compared with 168 in 2009. The gold sector had the highest number of deaths at 63.

A total of 3,019 miners suffered injuries in 2010, compared with 3,673 the previous year.

The country has a dire safety record compared to the industrialised world and the fatalities have led to temporary closure of mines, denting output.

New legislation in the last 16 years has increased miners’ rights but reducing deaths has been gradual because of the depth of the mines and a poorly educated workforce.

Companies in the top platinum and major gold producing country have vowed to get their safety performance on a par with countries such as Australia or the United States by 2013.