/ 9 October 2008

DRDGold miner dies in underground accident

A miner has died in an accident at DRDGold’s Blyvooruitzicht mine near Carletonville, an official confirmed on Thursday.

”The employee, who worked as an operator on the shaft’s underground ore-loading station some 1 900m below surface, was reported missing mid-afternoon yesterday [Wednesday] and his body was recovered from the loading station’s loading flask at approximately 11pm,” said DRDGold spokesperson James Duncan.

He said the miner was not wearing his safety gear.

”Initial indications are that the employee was not wearing a full-body safety harness, which is part of the standard safety equipment required to be worn by employees working in such situations,” said Duncan.

”The employee’s safety helmet, cap lamp and lamp belt were found at the loading station. It is mandatory that all of these items are worn at all times while employees are underground.”

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said the mine needs to explain why the worker was not wearing his safety belt.

Union spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said this was the seventh death at a DRDGold mine in the past two months, but Duncan said it was the fifth death since the beginning of the year.

Both were adamant that their number was correct.

The Solidarity trade union last week said three miners die in accidents in South Africa every week.

”In the past 40 weeks, 135 employees have already died on South African mines. This means that more than three mineworkers currently die in accidents each week,” said union spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans. — Sapa