File image: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called for compensation to be given to all mineworkers injured underground and the families of those who die underground.

In a statement on Sunday, the NUM welcomed Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane’s announcement regarding compensation for mineworkers at Vantage Goldfield’s Lily Mine at Barberton in Mpumalanga, following the disastrous collapse of the crown pillar at the mine on February 5.

The company would give R50 000 to each of the 76 mineworkers rescued after the collapse and R200 000 to the three workers still trapped in a lamp room container underground, or their families, Zwane said.

“It is a good initiative by the company and DMR [mineral resources department] but the money is not enough to compensate the families and miners for the pain and suffering they are currently going through,” NUM health and safety secretary Erick Gcilitshana said.

“We feel, as the NUM, that financial compensation must not only be implemented at Vantage Goldfields Lily Mine, because injuries and fatalities are happening in the mining industry as a whole. This must not be a once-off initiative at Vantage Goldfields Lily Mine,” he said.

The NUM called on all mining companies and the department to compensate all mineworkers, or their families, injured or dying underground.

The NUM was deeply concerned about the “high number of mineworkers who are trapped, injured and dying underground”, and they should also be compensated, Gcilitshana said.