Lagos — South Africa had the world’s highest number of mining fatalities last year, according to a report by the London-based International Council on Mining and Metals, ICMM.
ICMM reported 44 mining deaths in 2020, compared with 287 in 2019, when the collapse of a mining dam in Brazil killed 270 people.
It said South Africa accounted for 50 percent of the deaths in the year under review.
Precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater recorded nine deaths, followed by diversified miner Glencore with eight, ICMM said.
ICMM, which has 28 members in 2021, including the world’s biggest listed miners BHP and Rio Tinto, has published their safety performance since 2012 to improve internal reporting and foster a culture of openness.
“As an industry we must do better. 44 people lost their lives whilst at work in 2020 which is a stark reminder of the relentless efforts required to eliminate fatalities and achieve our goal of zero harm,” ICMM Chief Executive Rohitesh Dhawan said.
Before 2012 there was no reliable global data on deaths in one of the world’s most dangerous jobs, where workers face a range of hazards both above and beneath the ground.
The collapse of a Vale dam in 2019, which unleashed an avalanche of mining waste on the Brazilian town of Brumadinho, pushed boardrooms to shake up the structure and skillset of their senior management to further improve controls.
Mining companies are under pressure from shareholders and governments to meet their own environmental, social, and governance standards, ESG. Some have begun tying executives’ bonuses directly to measurable ESG outcomes.