Jan 13

The Health and Safety Project in the Southern African Mining Industry

The Competence Centre for Mining and Mineral Resources (CCMR) is aligned to the Raw Materials Strategy of the Federal Republic of Germany. Core objectives of the strategy include “helping industry to develop synergies from Sustainable economic activities” and “creating transparency and good governance in resource extraction”. In implementing the strategy the, the German Government, through the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) promotes socially responsible mining by supporting various projects globally. Business Integrity, Planning for positive post mining legacies, social responsibility and environment responsibility are critical aspects of responsible mining. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Mine Health and Safety (MH&S) are integral to Social responsibility. As such the CCMR (supported by the BMWi) embarked on a Mine Health and Safety project in 2018 and the project is planned to run until end of 2020.

The first phase of the project (2018) was a best practice report (publication) on mine health and safety. The purpose of the publication was to report on the best practices in the realm of MH&S and create awareness of through a series of workshops with MH&S professional’s in the SADC region. The CCMR identified that these practices in CSR and MH&S were being implemented in South Africa’s (SA) mining industry and as such the publication focused on SA.

The publication begins by exploring mine health and safety from a global perspective and in so doing seeks to raise awareness of ISSA Mining – a division of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) – and Vision Zero, its global mine health and safety initiative.

Chapter 2 investigates key legislative and regulatory aspects of South Africa’s mineral development and mine health and safety legislation and regulations, which are regarded as best practice in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Chapter 3 profiles German companies involved in the mining sector in South Africa. Part 1 is devoted to showcasing the products of German companies, Schauenburg Systems and Draeger, as the best available German technologies to help companies ensure that they have health and safety measures in place, and that they comply with the demands of mining legislation. Part 2 includes the initiatives undertaken by BASF (CSR) in ensuring clean supply chains after the Marikana massacre in 2012 followed by a section about Lanxess Chrome Mine in Rustenburg, which is presented as a as a best case example of a mine with an excellent safety record compared to industry averages in the chrome sector as well the mining industry of South Africa as a whole.

The content in Chapter 4 is provided by the Minerals Council of South Africa and documents initiatives taken to improve mine health and safety in South Africa as well as best practices currently being used in the sector. The topics covered are: initiatives undertaken by the South African Mining Industry to improve occupational health and safety performance; drill and blast, ledging and managing dust in the mining environment.

The publication concludes with a profile of Lesotho’s mining industry and an interview with Lesotho’s Commissioner of Mines in Chapter 5. It was endorsed by the prestigious Wits Mining Institute (WMI) and had media coverage on Mining Weekly, Engineering News, African Mining Brief, Mining Review as well as other online mining media platforms.

Phase two of the project (2019) involved the hosting Mine Health and Safety Workshops in the SADC region. These were held in Sowa Town and Gaborone (Botswana), Kathu and Johannesburg (South Africa), Luanda (Angola) and Maseru (Lesotho). Various experts from the Minerals Council and Independent Consulting Firms and Service Providers gave talks on various issues ranging from Fatigue Management, Traffic Management in Open Pit Mines, Occupational Hygiene and Risk Management. The workshops proved to be very successful with Mr Charles Siwawa (CEO, Botswana Chamber of Mines) saying after the event that “the vibes all week point towards a well-run workshop with good concepts that the guys are able to practically implement” and Mr Ntsane Makhetha (SHEC Manager, Liqhobong Mining Development Company-Lesotho) saying that “the seminar made an invaluable impact and was recognised widely”.

Phase 3 of the project will involve the hosting of workshops in Angola, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi in 2020. We would like to thank the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), The Mining Industry Association of Southern Africa (MIASA), The Minerals Council of South Africa (MINCOSA) and ISSA Mining for their continued support on the project.

Gerard Mohapi
Project Manager-CCMR at the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry

René Zarske
HoD- CCMR at the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry





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