Today's Labour News

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Sibanye StillwaterBusinessLive writes that modernisation of mines can save lives, but SA’s deep, steep and narrow ore bodies do not lend themselves to the desired change.  

This is especially true for mines owned by Sibanye-Stillwater, which again came into focus last week with the death of yet another worker.  The producer has become the biggest player in SA’s gold and platinum mining sector as other mining giants have sold off ageing and increasingly troublesome mines.  So it is logical that Sibanye would record more fatalities than others, but the high number of incidents is out of proportion.  Prof Frederick Cawood, director of the Wits Mining Research Institute, believes that modernisation will save lives in mines, but converting Sibanye’s operations to 21st century mines would by no means be a "light switch".  Cawood and the institute are working on several projects with Sibanye that "will continue to put distance between workers and risk".  This includes technology that would improve communication and ground mapping and will ultimately reduce the risks faced underground.  Sibanye says various technologies have been adopted in past years to improve safety.  Modernisation is the future, says Cawood, but he notes the technologies that might assist Sibanye are not yet proven in these "harsh environments".

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