2 July 2019
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is
shocked and saddened by the report of yet another fatality at Harmony
Gold. This brings the total for Harmony Gold to six to date. The Union
sends its condolences to the loved ones of each of the workers. It again
calls for greater accountability through tougher regulation of mine
Yet again, Harmony Gold has killed another mine worker. This makes six (6)
mineworkers to date that have been killed in Harmony Gold’s South African operations.
On Friday, 28 June 2019, an assistant to an onsetter (person in charge of winding
operations via the main shaft) was killed during conveyance of material cars at the 105
level station at Kusasalethu Mine in the West Rand. As AMCU has it, the onsetter and his
two assistants were loading material cars at the 105 level station and when spragging a
material car, which was already loaded, the conveyance (cage) shifted downwards and
trapped the two assistants against the station matt rails, injuring both. One assistant died
from his injuries, the other was admitted to hospital.
Other fatalities for 2019 to date at Harmony Gold’s South Africa operations include:
1. On 8 April 2019, an acting team leader was fatally injured in a seismic-related fall
of ground, whilst she was installing roof bolts at Doornkop mine;
2. On 30 April 2019, a mining crew was in the process of installing support when a
key block dislodged in between support units, fatally injuring one mineworker and
trapping another, who was subsequently rescued. This also occurred at Doornkop
3. On 7 May 2019, a tramming miner was fatally injured by a large boulder in what
appeared to be an ore box incident at Bambanani Shaft;
4. On 29 May 2019, a rock engineer was fatally injured during a Proto visit
underground at night at Phakisa Mine (Nyala Shaft). Another worker was also
injured, but survived. It appears to be related to electrical maintenance, with the
rock engineer somehow being electrocuted; and
5. On 5 June 2019, a scraper winch operator was killed when he was somehow
caught between the winch ropes during scraping activities at Tshepong Mine.
AMCU cannot emphasise enough their dismay at these deadly events. We are reminded
of the Sibanye-Stillwater horror of 2018, where 23 mineworkers were killed (21 in gold
operations). Moreover, for the 2018 year, Harmony Gold killed nine mineworkers in total,
in seven separate incidents. To date we have six separate incidents at Harmony Gold
operations, each of which has killed a mineworker, and five of which have also injured
another. We are only halfway through 2019.
Harmony Gold now leads with fatalities in the mining sector. We fear that should this
trend continue, we may face a disaster in the mining industry as we did last year. This
situation must not happen. AMCU calls for immediate and direct intervention from the
Minister for Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMR).
Update on provisional safety statistics:
Provisional fatalities in the South African Mining Industry (SAMI) currently stand at
twenty-four (24), with reportable injuries at 1156 year-to-date (as at 1 July 2019),
according to the DMR.
AMCU sends its condolences to family, friends and colleagues of the fallen
workers. May their souls rest in eternal peace.
AMCU reiterates its former calls for amendments to the Mine Health and Safety Act, the
Union has also called on mining bosses to invest more of their profits and dividends in
safety systems and infrastructure. Mining houses should face greater accountability
through stronger regulation and enforcement by the DMR.
For interviews: Gabriel Nkosi, National Health and Safety Co-ordinator (079 702
4421) or Matthew Grant, National Health and Safety Officer (063 686 0857)