JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A spectacular new dust control system announced at a Chamber of Mines (CoM) of South Africa conference on Monday is described as the closest the industry has come to a silver bullet to put an end to the curse of silicosis and other lung diseases that have plagued the South African mining industry for more than a century.
Representatives of government, labour and business heard at the CoM-facilitated launch that the real-time airborne pollutant monitoring system is now in place to potentially bring an immediate halt to dust spikes that have posed a silent killer threat since the days of the Cousin Jack Cornish miners on the Witwatersrand in the late 1800s.
“It’s a huge step towards the progress in our quest for zero harm,” CoM adoption team manager: dust Gerrie Pienaar told the conference attended by Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online. (Also see attached video).
“It’s possibly the closest thing to a silver bullet we’re ever going to have,” the CoM Mining Industry Occupational Safety and Health dust manager Johan van Rensburg told Mining Weekly Online in a video interview. “If it’s adopted eagerly at all levels, this thing will fly,” Van Rensburg added.
Control of respirable dust to eliminate silicosis is a life-and-death challenge that has faced the mining industry since its inception, with silicosis being responsible for disability and death on an unacceptable scale – and lawsuits with growing bite currently characterising mining’s lung-disease legacy.
Pienaar flashed on to a large screen a news item on an R80-million damages lawsuit being directed against a coal-mining company on a lawyers’ claim that there had been no accountability for the last 100 years.
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