Harmony Gold has confirmed a fatality at its Kusasalethu gold mine near Carletonville, Gauteng province, South Africa, after a 10 December incident, and government officials have now called for action in the wake of a trend of deaths in the region.
The unidentified worker was killed in a winch-related incident, after which the affected area suspended work pending an investigation.
Harmony Gold said it is working with officials to determine the cause.
“We are doing our utmost to ensure these incidents do not occur and continually strive to improve the safety culture throughout all our operations. Safety is a core value at Harmony and remains a priority as we seek to eliminate work related injuries and accidents,” said Peter Steenkamp, chief executive officer of Harmony.
The Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, meanwhile, said in a statement that after five fatalities over 11 days in the region, the health and safety of workers should be a priority in all mining operations. The other four were at a Sibanye-Stillwater site in late November.
“We are worried that fatalities in the mining sector continue to increase, on the one hand, while, on the other hand, the country is battling with the Covid-19 pandemic,” Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy chairperson Sululele Luzipo said.
He stressed the committee will be making time in the first quarter of 2022 to be briefed by the Mining Health and Safety Council on the number of fatalities in mining this year.
“The committee should also consider inviting the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to get clarity on the status of the Mine Health and Safety Amendment Bill,” he said.
Harmony Gold owns operations and assets in South Africa and Papua New Guinea (PNG) including one open-pit mine and several exploration tenements in PNG and nine underground mines and one open-pit operation and several surface sources in South Africa.
Harmony also owns 50% of the Wafi-Golpu copper-gold project in a joint venture in PNG.