Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe announced during a media conference in Pretoria on Sunday, 20 out of the 45 mining deaths reported since the start of this year have occurred at the Sibanye-Stillwater mines.
The minister said it could not be business as usual in how the regulator attends to the situation.
CEO Neal Froneman sad, “Resolving our recent safety challenges is our most critical imperative. We cannot accept that lives are lost in extracting minerals from the earth, and we will leave no stone unturned in restoring a safety performance that meets our expectations. Mining at Sibanye-Stillwater can, and must, continue to provide economic activity to a substantial part of South Africa’s population without causing unacceptable harm.”
The company responded to the announcement by Mantashe and said they would prioritise working with all stakeholders to ensure the company and industry achieve ‘zero harm’ in the workplace.
“We are funding an independent study being conducted by a leading visiting academic at the University of the Witwatersrand with the aim of developing practical recommendations for enhancing risk management effectiveness at our operations.
“This work, which forms part of a wider study on the origins and impact of the MHSA, will be performed through the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry.”
Thabisile Phumo, Head of Stakeholder engagement: SA region, Sibanye-Stillwater, added the company was also confident that the appointment of Dr Kobus de Jager as Corporate Head of Safety would assist in reviewing and enhancing the company’s safety management.
“Dr de Jager, who holds a visiting adjunct professorship at the University of the Witwatersrand, has over 40 years’ experience in mine safety with academic and practical credentials in leadership and behavioural safety,” she said.
“In addition the sponsorship and recent launch of DigiMine as a collaborative partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand is expected to complement our safety initiatives through provision of technology to improve safety and operating effectiveness.”