Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Mineral Resources yesterday laid bare Tegeta Exploration and Resources’ non-compliance with mining regulations and safety measures at its coal and uranium mines in Mpumalanga and North West. 

In a presentation to Parliament’s portfolio committee on mineral resources, the department detailed Tegeta’s compliance track record at Brakfontein, Koornfontein, Optimum and Shiva Uranium mines. 

Non-compliance in relation to infrastructure and operational equipment included extremely corroded steelwork, poor maintenance of lifting equipment such as tower cranes and a poor state of pressure vessels. 

As a result of some of the transgressions, the department issued so-called Section 54 instructions. 

In terms of Section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act, the department can halt mining operations if health and safety is at risk. 

The department said there was a total of 40 injuries at Tegeta’s mines and majority of these were at Optimum. Shiva Uranium also failed to comply with social and labour plans which were submitted and approved in 2010 and 2016. 

The department said it conducted an inspection in January this year and discovered non-compliance with social and labour plans. 

It said after a subsequent inspection in March this year, the department issued a Section 93 notice. 

Section 93 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) empowers the department to enforce compliance ordering mines to cease or suspend operations. 

The department said it conducted social and labour plans inspections at Tegeta’s Optimum, Koornfontein and Brakfontein mines in Mpumalanga. 

The department found the mines wanting in a number of elements of the social and labour plans such as human resource development, housing and living conditions and mine community development. 

The department said Optimum employees were never trained since Tegeta took over Optimum from mining company Glencore in 2016. 

The mine also failed to implement learnerships. 

“A training budget of R11m was approved for 2017/18 but same was diverted at the instance of chief executive officer,” the department said. 

It said Optimum also failed to facilitate home ownership for employees and could not account for employees’ current dwellings. 

The department found similar transgressions at Koornfontein Mine near Hendrina in Mpumalanga. 

It said the mine had not improved the living conditions of employees. It said there was also no information about employee dwellings at the Brakfontein Colliery in Delmas, Mpumalanga. 

“The company offers employees R300 a month as a living-out allowance. There is a total disregard of social and labour plan by the company,” the department said.