Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Sibanye-Stillwater boss ‘traumatised’ by surge in mine deaths

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said he was “deeply saddened and traumatised” to have lost so many mineworkers at the mines’ operations.

“In my entire 40-year career in mining, I have never experienced anything like this. I am deeply saddened and traumatised to have lost so many Sibanye-Stillwater family members in this way,” Froneman said during a conference call on Monday afternoon.

The aim of the conference call was to address recent safety incidents and other relevant issues.

The death toll at Sibanye-Stillwater’s operations this year alone stands at more than 20 – close to half of the fatalities in the entire mining industry.

Froneman said, during the five years prior to 2018, operations have delivered industry reading safety rates.

He said 2017 marked an extensive roll-out of a revised safety strategy early in the year and there was a significant improvement in all safety indicators.

According to Froneman, the country’s gold operations experienced no fatalities for four months until early February 2018.

“Whatever we do, it will not bring back those men to their family.”

‘Seismic activity’

Referring to the May 3 incident where seven workers were killed during a seismic event, he said seismic events were common across the gold fields areas.

“Seismic activity is common across the western gold fields and on average, our Kloof and Driefontein mines experience 640 events of between one and two magnitudes a year, and approximately 84 larger-than-two-magnitude events on average a year.”

In a separate incident on June 11, five miners died when they entered a ventilation shaft.

Froneman said photographs revealed that the ventilation shaft had been locked and marked with “no-entry signs” and it was unclear why the miners entered the area.

He said the Department of Minerals and Resources was still investigating the incident.

Sibanye-Stillwater has also appointed an expert in mining safety Cobus de Jager as corporate head of safety.

De Jager boasts more than 40 years of experience in mining safety.

His primary focus will be to fully review the company’s safety management systems and processes.

“We are taking structured and well-defined steps to restore our safety performance,” Froneman said. — News24

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

‘The children cannot cope any more’: Suicide in Calvinia highlights...

How Covid-19 has intensified the physical and emotional burdens placed on children’s shoulders.

Capitec Bank flies high above Viceroy’s arrow

The bank took a knock after being labelled a loan shark by the short seller, but this has not stymied its growth

More top stories

Farmers squeezed by big retailers

It may be beneficial for consumers when supermarkets push to get the lowest price from suppliers, but it can harm the farmers

Sisters pave the way with ecobricks

The durable bricks are made from 30% recycled plastic, some of which they collect from a network of 50 waste pickers

If the inflation-driving supply strain in the US lasts, it...

In South Africa, a strong trade surplus, buoyed by robust commodity prices, will cushion our economy against pressure arising from US policy

Covid-19: No vaccine booster shots needed yet

Scientists agree it is important to get most of the population vaccinated before giving booster jabs
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×