/ 18 November 2008

Worker killed at De Beers mine

A worker died at De Beers’s Finsch mine in the Northern Cape, trade union Solidarity said in a statement on Tuesday.

De Beers spokesperson Tom Tweedy confirmed the death, which happened on Monday afternoon.

The dead man did not work for De Beers directly, but was a contractor, Solidarity said.

”The accident … occurred above ground when the mine worker was pinned between a wall and a vehicle following a collision,” the trade union said.

According to De Beers, the Department of Minerals and Energy had been notified of the accident and a full investigation was under way.

”The nature and details of the accident will be the subject of the comprehensive investigation. The company is providing its full cooperation to all authorities responsible for the investigation.”

It added that safety was the single most important matter in all De Beers’s operations.

”Finsch Mine was rated the world’s safest underground diamond mine and South Africa’s safest mine, having achieved that distinction in 2007.”

Solidarity said it was once again making an urgent appeal to President Kgalema Motlanthe to release the presidential audit report on mining safety.

”It has already been 15 months since the audit was ordered, and in the meantime its release is being delayed unnecessarily.

”The danger now exists that the findings of the report could become outdated and invalid,” said the union’s Jaco Kleynhans. — Sapa