Minerals Council sets up R50m fund for victims of Jagersfontein tailings dam collapse

A vehicle overturned after a mining dam burst on September 13, 2022 in Jagersfontein, South Africa. People are trying to recover their belongings and cleaning their houses. Search and rescue teams are still searching for 2 missing persons. One person is confirmed dead. (Photo by Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

SOUTH Africa’s Minerals Council has launched a relief fund aimed at raising R50m for victims of Sunday’s tailings dam collapse in which one person was killed and nearly 100 injured.

“Based on our assessment of the situation, we believe urgent steps must be implemented to provide emergency assistance, including contributing funds to provide food aid and shelter, to assist in the clean-up and contribute to some rebuilding for those affected by the disaster,” said Nolitha Fakude, chairperson of the Minerals Council.

The dam collapse was on the premises of the Jagersfontein diamond mine situated about 100 kilometres from Bloemfontein in South Africa’s Free State province. Inhabits of the nearby Charlesville community were affected with 35 dwellings washed away and infrastructure damaged. Initial reports, now proved incorrect, estimated the collapse of the tailings dam led to three deaths while four people were previously unaccounted for.

The owner of the Jagersfontein mine is a Dubai-based company Stargems Group which bought its shares from Reinet Investments earlier this year.

The council said that while Stargems Group is not Minerals Council member, it nonetheless sent a senior technical team to the site on Monday to assess the damage and establish what the industry could do to assist families and the affected communities.

In chasing its R50m target, the council said it had requested contributions from its member companies and associations. The funds will be administered by the Minerals Council, which will be accountable to its board on how they are spent, it said.

An additional request was made for Minerals Council members to provide temporary shelters and other forms of assistance, where practically possible.