IndustriALL Global Union is deeply concerned to learn that two workers are missing after a mine collapse in Rustenburg, South Africa.
Nine workers were trapped after a shaft collapsed at the Impala Platinum mine on Tuesday 17 May 2016. Seven were successfully rescued. Mining has been suspended, and the rescue operation is ongoing.
Four miners died in an underground fire at the same mine on 22 January this year.
The missing miners are rock drill operators, who do one of the most dangerous jobs in mining. South Africa’s mines are among the deepest and most dangerous in the world.
Three miners also remain trapped underground at the Lily gold mine in South Africa, after a collapse on 5 February. Mining operations were suspended, and miners were encouraged to accept a very poor voluntary severance package, leading to mass pickets at the site.
IndustriALL is concerned at a spate of mining accidents across the world this year. The global commodity crisis has hit mining profits, leading some producers to cut corners to reduce costs.
Livhuwani Mammburu, spokesperson for IndustriALL affiliate the National Union of Mineworkers’ said:
“Major multinational corporations like Impala Platinum which should be industry leaders in creating a safety culture are doing far too little to prevent fatal accidents. And the situation will not get better by itself.
We call on the department of mineral resources inspectorate to hold the mining industry fully accountable for its failures and adopt a no-nonsense approach when it comes to injuries and fatalities in the mining industry.”
IndustriALL mining director Glen Mpufane said:
“Mining remains one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, because mining companies put profit before the safety of miners. A voluntary approach won’t help: we need countries to ratify and implement ILO Convention 176 on safety and health in mining.
“Implementing this convention will create a strong safety culture from the ground up, and introduce serious sanctions for companies that fail to take safety seriously”.