South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) said it is looking to tighten mining safety regulations this year to ensure more deaths are avoided at South African mines.

Over the last ten years the number of mining deaths in South Africa has decreased by 50% but the South African mining sector is still considered as one of the most unsafe industries in the world.

The department hopes to make changes to its Mine Health and Safety Act, which places the responsibility of injury or fatality of miners on individuals and companies.

DMR chief inspector of mines Thabo Gazi told Mining Weekly that changes will be finalised shortly.

“It is important that regulation sets minimum standard requirements,” Gazi said.

“Clearer requirements remove ambiguity and assist all mine operators, employees and the regulators in their efforts to implement the law.”

DMR is partnering with several institutions to boost its safety monitoring and evaluation initiatives including research to tackle challenges on safety and health and development of modules to train and raise output of inspectors.