South Africa’s Mines Rescue Services and equipment used in rescue operations are rated amongst the best in the world, according to David Mzisa, chief inspector of mines from the Department of Mineral Resources.

He was delivering the opening address on behalf of Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu at the official unveiling of Mine Rescue Services’ latest Rescue Drill Unit.

Advanced technology

“The Department commends the coal industry and the Chamber of Mines for investing in the new technologically advanced Rescue Drill Unit,” said Mzisa.

“This also highlights the unwavering commitment of the coal industry in taking proactive measures to ensure that all mineworkers have an opportunity to return home safely to their families.

HSE performance

“This is further demonstrated by our coal industry’s performance on health and safety which continues to reach record levels.”

Mzisa noted that the South Africa coal industry compares favourably, in terms of fatality rates, with the best performing industries in other countries such as the US.

R&D focus

“We should continue focusing on R&D to ensure that there is sustained and significant improvement on health and safety.”

This must be accompanied by appropriate skills development. Mzisa concluded: “We will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders in the mining industry in a bid to ensure our mineral resources are developed in a safe and productive manner.

“We encourage exchange of ideas and programmes in order to learn from each other with regard to leading practice, technological developments as well as education and training.”