Sahlulele Luzipo. File Image
JOHANNESBURG - The Chairperson of the portfolio committee on mineral resources, Sahlulele Luzipo, yesterday said that there should be legislated punitive measures imposed on companies with poor safety records. 

Luzipo was commenting on the death of seven mine workers at the Sibanye-Stillwater mine in Driefontein. Sibanye on Saturday confirmed that the number of fatalities had increased to seven. 

The six employees who were successfully rescued are in hospital and in a stable condition, the company said. 

“The mining companies need to invest more resources into research and development of technologies that would detect seismic events from early stage. In February this year, two mine workers lost their lives at the same mine in Kloof. The loss of lives in the sector cannot continue unchallenged,” said Luzipo. 

The Chamber of Mines said in the past few years the mining industry had focused on addressing fall of ground incidents, particularly at deep-level mines. 

“This focus is reflected in the more than R150million that the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) has invested in falls of ground research. 

Furthermore, through the MHSC, more than R250m has been spent on research into the seismicity associated with our deep-level mines,” the chamber said in a statement. 

It said since 2017, there had been an increase in the number of rock bursts related to seismic activity, while the number of rockfalls, which was typically the main cause of falls of ground, decreased. 

“To better understand and address this concern, the Mining Industry Occupational Safety and Health Fall of Ground task team has been established,” the chamber said.