File picture: IOL

Rustenburg - A mineworker was killed during a rock fall at the Rustenburg operations of Impala Platinum (Implats) on Thursday, bringing fatalities in the mining industry to 63 this year, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said.

NUM health and safety chairperson Peter Bailey said the union has learned with shock of the death of a mineworker at Implats number 20 shaft as a result of rock fall.

"This takes the mining industry fatalities to about 63 fatalities from January to date. We call for a debate on health and safety by captains of the mining industry, trade unions, and the government is more urgent than before to discuss the rate of fatalities and injuries in mines," Bailey said.

"Inspectors must conduct unmanned audits in this mine and workers must refuse to work in an unsafe work environment. Our hearts are with the families of the workers who lose their lives under the brutality of rocks in the mines."

He said they were worried about these fatalities happening at Impala Platinum and called on the company to improve its health and safety system.

Two mineworkers were killed in a rock fall at Number 12 Shaft of Impala Rustenburg operation on September 19.

Bailey called on mining companies to invest more money in protecting the lives of workers than focusing more on profits.