Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) suspended operations at its Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine last week after an employee was killed in underground accident, the second involving RBPlat last week.

This brings to total five people that have been killed mine accidents over the past four weeks – raising alarm bells at Royal Bafokeng and across the sector.

Minerals department investigates

The Department of Mineral Resources in a statement said it was greatly concerned about the loss of life of mineworkers, noting that it was investigating the causes of the recent accidents and the possible measures that should be implemented to avoid a recurrence of the fatalities.

RBM spokesperson Refumane Petrose Kanono said a locomotive operator and contract employee at the mine died in an underground accident after he was trapped by a ventilation door on Friday.

Suspending operations

“All normal underground operations have been suspended pending a full investigation into the incident, which has already commenced in conjunction with the Department of Mineral Resources,” the company said on Friday.

Earlier last week, RBPlat said that Xadreque Chihungo, a contract employee at the Styldrift I Project was killed in a shaft related incident.

Underground operations at Styldrift were suspended pending an investigation into the incident, it added, according to Business Report.

Fourth quarter notoriety

The Department of Mineral Resources in a statement said mineworkers deaths was a result of various factors, including complacency and failure to comply with mine standards.

“The fourth quarter of the calendar year is historically a very difficult period in as far as occupational health and safety is concerned in the mining sector,” commented the Department’s spokesperson, Phuti Mabelebele.

Series of mineworker deaths

Atlatsa Resources reported it had closed operations at a section of its Bokoni Platinum Mine last week pending the outcome of an investigations into the death of a resident on the property.

Buffalo Coal reported the death of an employee from its Aviemore Colliery in KwaZulu-Natal, who died from injuries sustained in a blasting incident.

South Africa’s Chamber of Mines did not comment on specific incidents but said it continues to reiterate the importance of safety at mining operations in the country.


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