Grim start to the year for mining as more miners lose their lives

South Africa’s mining industry has begun 2024 the way it ended last year. Two more miners lost their lives in the first week of the New Year.

Goldfields miner death

A miner died on Tuesday at Gold Fields’ South Deep mine in Gauteng in an underground incident. The gold producer says the incident emanated from a trackless equipment.

The death saw mining activities at the mine temporarily suspended. This was to allow for full inspection led by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. Trade union representatives and mine management are also investigating.

Gold Fields is one of South Africa’s most valuable mines, valued at R226-billion on the JSE.

The news of the fatality at Gold Fields’ mine was followed on Friday by an announcement by Harmony that a miner died at its Mponeng mine near Carletonville on Thursday.

Harmony miner death

The mining house said the nature of the incident leading to the loss of life is currently under investigation.

“Harmony wishes to extend its deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased. The safety of our employees remains our priority. We aim to continue our efforts to ensure these tragedies do not occur. A day of mourning will be observed at the mine,” said Peter Steenkamp, CEO of Harmony.

Mponeng is regarded as the world’s deepest level shaft, with a depth of 3,891m below datum and 2,062m below sea level.

Mponeng began producing in 1986.

Weeks after loss of 13 mine workers’ lives and 70 injuries 

The deaths in South Deep and Mponeng mines come just weeks after 13 workers died at Impala Platinum’s Rustenburg mine. Seventy other workers were injured in the incident.

Impala described the accident as its worst in half a century.

These fatal incidents have brought into question the safety of mining operations in South Africa. The country has historically been plagued by fatalities and injuries in the industry for years.


Data from the Minerals Council SA shows 49 miners died on the job in 2022.

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