South Africa. President Thabo Mbeki ordered the Mine Safety Audit in October 2007 following a series of incidents at different mines.
Reuters reports that a top government mining official told parliament on Tuesday that the results of the nationwide Safety Audit of South African mines were “worrying” because they showed a low level of safety compliance.
“We’ve been doing this Presidential Audit and the results (will) be out soon and they are worrying,” Thabo Gazi, the chief inspector of mines at the Department of Minerals and Energy told MPs during a briefing on a new Mine Safety bill. “They are really worrying because generally levels of compliance in our industry is low.”
Gazi said the audit, which targeted 333 high-risk and targeted mines, was close to being finalised and was expected to be handed over to Mbeki in mid-July. The audit was ordered by Mbeki after an accident last year which trapped 3,200 workers at Harmony Gold’s Elandsrand mine underground for close to 48 hours.
South Africa, a major producer of gold and platinum, suffered more deaths in mines last year than in 2006, prompting the government to temporarily shut down mines whenever the deaths occurred. This had a negative impact on mining output.
The government said mineworker deaths rose 11 percent last year to 221 from 2006, the first jump since 2002, as mine workers were killed by rock falls, explosions or being buried underground during earth tremors.