November 24, 2017

Gold miners fight silicosis collectively

If the South African mining sector had been napping, the ongoing high profile court case involving ailing ex-miners against their ex-employers has jolted it into action.

African Mining Brief was amongst a team of media and other stakeholders hosted by a working group of seven gold miners in South Africa on Friday at Sibanye Gold’s Driefontein mine. The working group includes African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, DRDGold, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold and Sibanye Gold.

The Working Group outlined three preventative measures to prevent silicosis exposure to a target of 0.05mg/m3 by 2024, including effective engineering and deploying improved dust management technologies, detection and treatment initiatives at mines, in addition to compensation packages for workers who contact the disease.

The engineering measures identified were footwall chemical treatments sprayed from locomotives, water atomisers, winch covers and atomisers.

The head of environmental engineering at Sibanye Gold, Vijay Nundal, explained: “The best approach is eliminating workers’ exposure to silciosis.”

Health and Wellness specialist, James Malemela, noted that early diagnosis was a challenge and 40% are only identified post-mortem.

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