The National Union of Mineworkers doesn’t believe that there has been a significant reduction in the number of fatalities of mine workers.

Earlier this week, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe told the African Mining Indaba that 51 mineworkers died last year compared to 81 recorded in the previous year.

Speaking on the sidelines of the African Mining Indaba, NUM Secretary-General David Sipunzi says the reduction can be ascribed to the shedding of thousands of jobs in the mining sector.

“We don’t believe that there is a reduction in the fatalities in the mining industry as compared to the previous years because if you want to say there is reduction, compare the employment figures of yesteryears to today’s employment figures then you will find the rationale. But if you just say you’ve got 51 this year and 81 last year, something has to be done to determine the number of deaths against employment figures.”

Meanwhile, NUM has vowed to oppose chrome mines’ plans to retrench over 3 000 employees in Rustenburg in the North West.

Samancor and Glencore Merafe Joint Venture have served unions with Section 189 notices, indicating their intention to lay off some of their staff.

They’ve cited increased production costs, electricity tariff hikes, pressure on commodity prices and the introduction of the carbon tax.

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