SA mines avoid mass job losses, says govt

South Africa’s mining sector has shed close to 30 000 jobs due to the global economic downturn, but avoided greater losses because of measures put in place by the government and companies, a senior official said.

Sandile Nogxina, Director General of the Department of Mining, also urged mining firms to improve miners’ safety.

“If you recall around December last year, there was a projection we would lose about 150 000 jobs by now,” Nogxina said during a visit by a South African business delegation to Angola.

“But because of the initiative that we took in December ... we have managed to ensure until now we have lost close to about 30 000 jobs,” he told Reuters.

On mine safety, Nogxina said South African mining companies were not doing enough to curb fatalities.

One-hundred-and-twenty mineworkers have died this year, compared with 168 in 2008.

“It is unacceptable that people are still dying as a result of mining operations,” he said.

“We believe that mining companies can do better than they are doing right now.”

He said changes to safety legislation would mean hefty fines for deaths due to negligence but said the proposals had yet to be signed into law by President Jacob Zuma.—Reuters

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