South Africa will tighten its mine safety regulations to hold mine operators accountable for accidental deaths in the industry, President Cyril Ramaphosa says.
Safety is a huge issue in South Africa’s deep and dangerous mines and increasingly a focus for investors.
A spate of deaths at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations, including a seismic event that killed seven miners in early May, has highlighted the risks.
Ramaphosa was responding to a question after six miners died on Sunday in an underground fire at a copper mine operated by unlisted Palabora Mining, the latest tragedy to hit the country’s mines.
“We are going to tighten up the regulations to ensure that those who run these mines must be accountable themselves because we cannot have so many deaths,”said Ramaphosa, who was a mine union activist during apartheid.
Ramaphosa said that 54 miners had been killed in South Africa’s mines so far in 2018 after a spike in mine deaths in 2017 ended nine straight years of falling fatalities and raised red flags for the industry, the government and labour groups.