Fatalities up 20%, first rise since 2008, most in two decades.
Finding minerals in South Africa after more than a century of digging often means going deeper than ever before. Now, it’s also becoming deadlier.
In a country that remains one of the biggest producers of gold, platinum and diamonds, 60 mining deaths this year through August was 20% higher than the same period in 2015, according to the Chamber of Mines, an industry group. The annual tally is heading for its first increase in nine years and the biggest in at least two decades, escalating concerns by both workers and mining executives.
Many of those killed laboured in the searing heat of gold mines that can be more than two miles under ground and traditionally are among the most deadly in South Africa. Various causes have been cited, from falling rock to miners failing to obey safety protocols. But in all cases, that means losses for producers when they are forced to shut mines until government investigations are completed.