South Africa mine deaths fall to record low in 2019

A miner is seen underground at Lonmin Plc's Karee mine in Marikana, Rustenburg 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, file. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

South Africa saw the lowest number of mine deaths on record last year, with 51 people killed compared to 81 the previous year, the mines ministry said on Friday.

“The lowest recorded fatalities in 2019 at 51 shows that there’s a possibility of a fatality-free mining industry and that’s what we are striving for,” the ministry cited Minister Gwede Mantashe as saying in comments posted on Twitter.

A poor safety record has contributed to slower investment at some South African mines in recent years, along with depressed commodities prices and rising labour and power costs.

Nineteen people died in gold mines last year, 19 in platinum mines, seven in coal mines and six in other types of mine, the ministry said.

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