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6 July, 2012On 2 July, five workers were killed and 14 others were hospitalized for smoke inhalation at the KDC West mine operated by Gold Fields in South Africa, when a fire broke out. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) put the blame on poor mine management. NUM will conduct a memorial service for the deceased in their memory which is attended by the all the workers at the mine.
At midnight on 1 July, a fire broke out in the Gold Fields mine in Carletonville, South Africa. Workers were working overtime on mud-loading when the accident happened. The workers were in an area with no air ventilation and no water supply, which is the primary cause of the 5 deaths and 14 injuries.
The mineral resources ministry ordered a compulsory halting of operations on 2 July pending investigations. Miners at the KDC West mine will stay off work on 3 July to honour the 5 workers killed last weekend with the support of IndustriALL Global Union affiliate NUM. The company has yet to open the shaft where the incident occurred, because the fire there has not been extinguished,
NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said: “I don’t understand why they closed the water pipe. They did that to save money, but this has cost five families their breadwinners. The law says if there’s no water you don’t go in the mine.
NUM general secretary Frans Baleni said: “We strongly condemn the company for sending workers on overtime night shift when there is no ventilation.”
According to the South African ministry over 60 miners have lost their lives in 2012, a clear indication that there is still much to do to improve mine safety in South Africa.