Harmony Gold Mining Company confirmed that one of its employees was fatally injured following a fall of ground at its Phakisa Mine (Tshepong Operations) in Welkom, Free State.
This is according to the mine’s Group Communications Manager, Sihle Maake, who said that the miner died on Tuesday morning, following a fall of ground incident at the Phakisa Mine’s Tshepong Operations in the town. According to the Mining Occupational Health and Safety (Mosh) website, “fall of ground” refers to a term used to classify accidents that relate to unexpected movement of rock mass and the uncontrolled release of debris and rock, as a result of gravity and/or pressure, strain burst or rock burst.
Maake said that an investigation is currently underway and the mine expressed its condolences to the deceased’s family, friends and colleagues.
The mine reported in March last year that two people were killed in a seismic-related fall incident at one of its operations in Welkom. This added to the mine’s death toll of over 12 fatalities at its various mines, including the death of another miner who died in January last year in a mining equipment related accident, also at the Tshepong Operations. The causes of death in the past, since 2016, were related to falls of ground, construction, and rail-related incidents.
OFM News spoke to Tanki Malefane, who is the Regional Coordinator in the Free State for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Malefane said he was unable to comment further on the incident as he required more information but would later comment. He, however, said he was saddened by the incident as one miner’s death is one too many.