Monthly Archives: November 2021

Occupational Health and Safety

Safety is ever a concern in the workplace.

Occupational Health and Safety

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“Labour report shows long road ahead for improving occupational health and safety
Khulekani Magubane

Claims to the Compensation Fund reached over R4 billion in 2016/17 and medical costs account for 66% to 71% of claims.
Mining industry reported injuries declined to a rate of 1 incident per 150 employees per year.
The highest health and safety compliance rate was noted in construction while the lowest compliance was in manufacturing and retail.
There is a worrying lack of compliance with occupational health and safety standards in some sectors, and the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted some of the critical gaps in keeping employees safe.

This is according to a new report on occupational health and safety by the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL). South Africa is a member of the International Labour Organisation, and the report was jointly commissioned by the ILO and DEL.

Launching the Profile of Occupational Health and Safety South Africa report on Friday, the DEL said safety was still a key concern in some sectors.

According to the report, the monetary value of claims to the Compensation Fund under the department has been rising over the years and reached over R4 billion in 2016/17.

Medical costs account for 66% to 71% of claims.

Worrying compliance levels

According to the report, the number of workplace inspections by the department has grown steadily from 180 818 in 2014/15 to 218 919 in 2018/19. The number of inspectors per employees has also been increased.

However, it raised the alarm regarding compliance with health and safety standards seen in inspections, saying the lowest compliance was in the manufacturing sector with only 241 out of 542 employers in the sector complying, followed by retail, with 996 out of 1897 employers complying.

The highest was in the construction sector, with 3 919 out of 4 725 employers complying; and agriculture, with 461 out of 622 inspected employers complying.

The mining industry reported that injuries declined from 3 036 injuries in 2015 to 2 350 in 2018, amounting to a rate of 1 incident per 150 employees per year. However, fatalities remain a challenge, the report said.

In July, the Minerals Council of South Africa (MCSA) said a total of 32 mineworkers had died to date this year in the country’s mines – an increase from the rate seen a year ago.

Apart from differences between sectors, occupational health and safety specialist Spoponki Kgalamono said there was still a critical gap in SA when it came to the informal economy and work changes introduced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During the pandemic it was evident that the national…system was disjointed. As noted by the department and work streams and academia, the efforts of strengthening these systems have allowed us to protect workers, particularly during outbreaks,” said Kgalamono.

Deputy Minister of Labour and Employment Boitumelo Moloi said a lack of recorded data on diseases was a critical gap.

Making changes

The release of the OHS report is part of developing a comprehensive strategy and policy for the prevention of occupational health and safety hazards for employees and reforming the inspection and compensation regime.

Labour and Employment director general Thobile Lamati said the report was not just about occupational health and safety, for which the Department of Employment and Labour is responsible, but also covered all aspects of occupational health and safety in South Africa.

“We are now on the cusp of the development of the fifth OHS Act which I believe will revolutionise the current health and safety practises and offers greater protection for workers, while equally protecting complying employers.

“This bill was the culmination of years of stakeholder and partner interaction at Nedlac. The bill has been approved for public comment by the Cabinet of South Africa,” said Lamati.

Lamati said all government departments and entities, state and non-statutory institutions responsible for occupational health and safety had contributed, as well as business and unions.

Inspector-General of inspections and enforcements at the Department of Employment and Labour Aggy Moiloa said there was also an economic benefit to ensuring employees are kept safe.

“It should not be misconstrued that these are just limited to the human element. It can be argued that a sound national OHS profile would bode well for the health of the economy as well,” said Moiloa.

Business Unity South Africa board member Deidre Penfold said employees have responded positively to efforts to improve occupational health and safety. The report gave useful guidance on where OHS could be improved, Penfold said.

But Black Business Council CEO Gregory Mofokeng noncompliance remained unacceptably high and welcomed the opportunity to address problems.

“We want to work with government and hold accountable all of the businesses that merely pay lip service to occupational health and safety. We will dedicate our resources to realise a reduction of the incidences we are seeing in workplaces,” said Mofokeng.

Mofokeng said healthcare sector improvements were essential to creating complete coverage for injured and ill workers, along with movement in capacitating the National Health Insurance.

Federation of Unions of South Africa general secretary Reifdah Ajam said the report was long overdue.

Cosatu deputy secretary general Solly Phetoe agreed, flagging difficulties with compensation claims.

Compensation Fund commissioner Vuyo Mafat, however, said “the priority should remain to prevent, decrease and eradicate occupational health and safety hazards in the workplace”, adding that illness and injury resulted in a loss of skills to the economy.”


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How to get involved in the mining industry

Now that we’ve looked at various mining activities in South Africa, maybe you are keen to be involved.  Here’s how you can make a start.

How to get involved in the mining industry


How to get involved in the mining industry
October 30, 2020

In the startup scene, few entrepreneurs will look to the mining sector. The industry is a giant and competes on the world stage. But because South Africa is so confident in its natural reserves this sector offers ample opportunity to innovators and self-starters.

South Africa has rich natural reserves

The mining industry in 2016 attributed to 8 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And the mining sector is considered to be the fifth largest mining sector, in terms of GDP, globally. South Africa has the world’s largest reserves of manganese and platinum group metals and is home to some of the biggest reserves of gold, diamonds, chromite ore and vanadium.

The gold and diamond mining industries are one of the most important foreign exchange earners for the country and gold accounts for more than one-third of the exports. South Africa can also boast enormous coal and chrome production. And, there’s still potential for more exploration in some untapped areas thought to be deposits of more precious metals and types of minerals.

Now tapping into this industry may feel overwhelming

You can’t just simply begin mining and most entrepreneurs would believe that setting up a mining company is a capital-intensive exercise. Of course, if you’re planning on embarking on an exhaustive exploration mission then sure you’re going to need some serious funding to cover the excessive costs. But you don’t need to do that to be involved in this sector.

The mining industry makes use of advanced technologies

The mining sector cannot afford to reject new technologies and advanced processes. It is too big an industry to continue with old hat methods and if mining companies don’t embrace modern technology they are likely to fail. New technologies such as data collection, cloud-based networks, wearable technologies, and drones are all types of examples of products and industries assisting the mining sector. And if your company is aligned with this type of technology then becoming involved in the mining sector is easy enough.

Environmental concerns are a big deal in the mining sector

Reducing energy consumption and cultivating renewable energy sources is top of mind in just about every industry. In the mining industry, in particular, running an environmentally responsible operation results in cost savings as well as benefitting the planet.

By employing energy efficient technologies and automating various processes which optimise energy consumption mining companies are able to enjoy major savings. According to a report by Deloitte last year, some mining companies have seen a saving of up to 40 percent in expenses. An environmentally aligned startup can tailor their offering to the mining sector and enjoy major success.

Health and safety services are paramount to the mining sector’s performance

In South Africa, health and safety on mines are extremely important. HIV and TB are two diseases directly affecting mineworkers in South Africa. It is such a problem that this year the government introduced a National Strategic Plan to run a course of five years so that it may reduce the mortality rates. Mining companies must make provisions for people catching these diseases and face up to what is happening amongst its workers on site. Sex education and access to family planning and medication are crucial for the mines to be considered safe and secure work. This National Strategic Plan outlines the framework for a multi-sectoral partnership to be formed. This will specifically focus on accelerating the reduction of morbidity and mortality directly associated with TB, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Furthermore, occupational health and safety cannot be more important than in the mining industry. Mining companies are held to strict guidelines and legislation that’s in place to prevent workplace fatalities and injuries.

Health and safety practice, personal protective gear, clean up operations and critical training courses are all ways of getting your foot in the door of the mining sector as a small business. As an entrepreneur, if you decide to create a company that offers training or products and services that address either the concern around HIV and TB or you offer something that aligns with occupational health and safety, you’ll find yourself quickly entrenched in a dangerous sector.

Once you have an idea that fits in within the needs of the mining sector you will need to create a business plan. You’ll likely be able to get funding from a government grant if you are able to jump through the hoops supplied. Alternatively, you can apply for capital from the bank. Mining equipment funding is available to entrepreneurs who wish to enter the sector.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Women in Mining

To continue our mining theme, let’s take a look at woman in this challenging industry.

Woman in mining - image from article source (see link)


Rosond celebrates its incredible team of women in mining
July 27, 2021

The mining industry has traditionally been a male-dominated environment. Nowhere is this more evident than in exploration drilling, where handling the drill rods alone requires substantial physical strength and dexterity, in addition to being able to load and unload heavy equipment from the drill rigs itself. However, when drilling technology solutions provider Rosond of Midrand designed and developed a next-generation drill rig that automates this arduous and dangerous process, an opportunity arose for several women to be deployed at Kumba Iron Ore in the Northern Cape. Recruiting and training this team formed part of the company’s tender with Anglo American, explains Rosond MD Ricardo Ribeiro.

“What I enjoy most about my job is that we always work as a team. This truly creates a family environment where everybody is there for each other. I feel empowered, because for many years only men were allowed to work in the mining industry. I would like to thank Rosond for giving me such a big opportunity. I know I still have much to learn, which is why I am so excited about this job and being part of women in mining,” says Bolokang Innocentiah Mere, who lives in Kathu. Her role as a Grade Control Drill Assistant is to ensure that all samples taken are labelled correctly, and to assist with set-up when relocating to the next exploration site.

Drill Assistant Lesogo Mavis Kanon, who works at Kuruman, agrees that women like herself are paving the way for increased gender equality in the mining industry. “What I enjoy most about my job is acquiring the knowledge to overcome the challenges I face on a daily basis. Rosond has taught me that people should not be judged on gender alone, but on skills and competency. I am blessed to be in my current position, as this opportunity has shown me that anything is possible, and that we can indeed bring about a positive change to the industry.”

Reabetswe Prudence Kaekae comments that her position as Drill Assistant has allowed her to not only operate the machinery itself, but also to think out-of-the-box and be more multitasked. “It is quite challenging yet interesting at the same time. It is a different working environment that you become used to as time goes by.” Her vision is to learn more about the mining industry so she can become an instructor herself one day, teaching the next generation of women about the latest drill rig technology being developed by Rosond.

Diamond Drill Assistant Agness Sethunya has a wide range of tasks, from washing core samples to general paperwork. “I enjoy learning new things each and every single day, but mostly I enjoy the challenges I have to tackle as a woman working with drill rigs and other heavy equipment.” Her future plan is to become a Safety Officer and ultimately a qualified engineer.

Mercia Monwe is an assistant on the Ros 8II EX drill rig, and says she enjoys learning from her fellow drill crew members, who are highly mindful of safety and efficiency while on the job. “At first it was a challenge, but at the end of the day I learned that even working in a male-dominated industry, I can achieve anything.”

Being able to work in the mining industry is an incredible achievement, says Drill Assistant Palesa Cheraldine Buneditte, adding that she now has access to opportunities for personal and career growth that were simply unavailable to her before. Even Letlhogonolo Moricho, who works as a cleaner at Kolomela, has been inspired by what her fellow female colleagues have achieved. “I am very excited to be a part of the mining industry, which has put me on a path to learn more and one day maybe even get to work on the drill rigs themselves.”

Rosond has supplied 28 next-generation drill rigs to the Kolomela and Sishen mines as part of a R2 billion, five-year tender to ensure Anglo American is up to date with the latest drilling technology as it modernises its geoscience operations. The drill rigs feature increased safety due to the fact that they are largely automated, and include control cabins with air-conditioning and ablution facilities attached.”



Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.


Gold Mining South Africa

A last look at South African mining – this time it’s gold mining.


Gold Mining South Africa

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The Witwatersrand Basin remains the world’s largest gold resource
Gold sales increased by 3.7% at R72.6 billion in 2019 (R70 billion in 2018)
Gold production decreased to 101.3 tonnes in 2019 (117 tonnes in 2018)
At the current gold price more than half of the South African gold mining industry is marginal
South African gold only accounts for 4.2% of global gold production
Employment in the gold sector has declined over the years
The gold industry currently employs 95,130 (100,189 people in 2018)
Total employee earnings have soared from R15.9 billion in 2008 to R24.3 billion in 2019 (27.6 billion in 2018)


The Witwatersrand gold-producing area in South Africa is underlain by an underground geological formation also known as the Witwatersrand Basin. It lies on the Kaapvaal Craton, and is one of the world’s largest gold placer deposits. This elliptical basin stretches over an arc of roughly 400km traversing across the Free State, North West and Gauteng provinces in South Africa. Gold occurs only along the northern and western margins of this basin, but not in a continuous band.

The basin is covered by younger sedimentary and volcanic rocks such as those making up the Ventersdorp and Karoo Supergroups. The underlying sedimentary rock has been laid down over a period which ended about 2,700 million years ago when widespread faulting resulted in extensive lava flows covering the Witwatersrand Basin.

The gold was embedded in a conglomerate and, at first, it was assumed that this was alluvial gold in an old riverbed. It was then found that the conglomerate, or conglomeratic zone, was part of a sedimentary succession. It was traced east and westward for a continuous distance of 50km and became known as the Central Rand Gold Field.

The gold in this basin occurs in the coarse grained conglomerates forming the upper portions of the “Witwatersrand Supergroup” that hosts roughly 7,000m of sedimentation. It is found here in association with uranium, quartz, carbon seams, phyllosilicates and pyrite. The mineralisation of the Witwatersrand reefs is extensive and a total of 70 ore minerals, including diamonds, have been documented from the Witwatersrand conglomerates.

After 120 years of mining on the Kaapvaal Craton, operations in this area have reached depths of 4,000m. At this depth, the natural rock temperatures reach about 50°C and the virgin vertical rock pressures of the order of 100MPa provide an indication of the enormity of the challenges and hazards facing mining.


The discovery of gold in the late 19th century spawned the development of the city of Johannesburg, Egoli, or the City of Gold, and numerous towns around the gold diggings, including Barberton and Pilgrim’s Rest. In the 20th century, the large gold mines on the West Wits line were established, and towns like Carletonville and Klerksdorp became important and busy centres around the world-famous gold mines: Kloof, Driefontein and Western Deep Levels. For many years, South Africa was the world’s primary gold producer.

The glory days of the gold sector started waning in the early 21st century as mines went deeper to find the rich reef patches. At the same time, the gold price had dropped significantly from the previous highs, and the global economy hit headwinds, culminating in the global financial crisis in 2008. Although the crisis has eased in many countries, the effects on the South African mining industry have been profound and enduring.

Mining contributed R360.9 billion to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) during 2019, up from R351 billion in 2018.

Employment in the gold sector has continued to decline since the 1980s with around 95,130 workers currently employed. At the same time, productivity has declined and wages have risen. Despite this, gold mining activities remain a mainstay of employment in many communities around the country, and every employee in the gold sector supports between five and 10 other dependants. On the upside, every direct job in the mining sector results in two indirect jobs being created elsewhere.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.