October 18, 2017

Lily mine accident: a crisis management template?

So far, unfortunately, the Lily mine accident in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, does not seem to be producing the happy ending – akin to the Chile incident of 2015 – we all long for. Apparently, the rescue team is not having any joy in their untiring endeavour to reach the lamproom where the trapped miners are believed to be located. They are negotiating stubborn obstacles, so we are told.

There is one thing to have emerged from the tragedy – acknowledging that human lives are at stake, all stakeholders – directly or indirectly affected – have collaborated in their solitary quest to rescue the trapped miners.  For once, they are setting a template on how crises should be managed.

Trade union bodies normally vociferous have restrained themselves. Instead of finger pointing, uncharacteristically, they have maintained a sober tone, cooperating with all the parties (the mining company, the Department of Mineral Resources) involved. For now, even arm chair critics have gone mute or into hibernation (postponing their misgivings for some other time).

Of course, as a standard practice, after closure, an inquest will have to be made whose findings will be submitted to the Department of Mineral Resources for review.

This peculiarity is refreshing. Isn’t that the way the world should manage mining tragedies?

We all wish for some form of divine intervention to save the trapped souls (even though odds appear not in our favour).

Meanwhile, the situation

Five days later (as this piece is being penned), the atmosphere is still tense. In spite of the shenanigans which the country’s State of the Nation address produced, the incident is still on the media radar (regular updates are being produced).

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