SA Mine Deaths Low but Technology Could Save More, Union Says

28 April 2010 (Last Updated April 28th, 2010 18:30)

Deaths from mining accidents in South Africa have decreased but mine safety technology still needs to be improved, South African trade union Solidarity said. Statistics show that in 2007 221 miners died in the country at a rate of four a week while in 2009 the incident rate reduced to 165

Deaths from mining accidents in South Africa have decreased but mine safety technology still needs to be improved, South African trade union Solidarity said.

Statistics show that in 2007 221 miners died in the country at a rate of four a week while in 2009 the incident rate reduced to 165, at three workers a week.

In the first 16 weeks of 2010 29 workers died at a rate of 1.8 deaths a week.

Solidarity leader Paul Mardon told Times Live that technology could be used to reduce this rate even further.

Technology currently used to measure underground seismic activity is not accurate enough and requires improvement to prevent mining accidents, he said.

The technology can monitor movement in rock to a thousandth of a millimeter but cannot predict the time and location of a rockfall with complete accuracy, he added.