ATC180905: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources on its oversight visit to Mpumalanga and Gauteng on the 13 – 17 August 2018, dated 05 September 2018

Mineral Resources and Energy

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources on its oversight visit to Mpumalanga and Gauteng on the 13 – 17 August 2018, dated 05 September 2018

The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources, having undertaken an oversight visit to Gauteng, report as follows:


1.         Introduction


A delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources (the Committee) visited Mpumalanga and Gauteng Provinces from 13 – 17 August 2018.


1.1        The first objective of the oversight was to evaluate concerns that have been raised about the development of a new coal mine at Palmietkuilen near Springs, Gauteng (Lesedi Local Municipality) on the border of Mpumalanga province.


A petition in this regard was referred to the PCMR by the Speaker. (ATC No 63─2017). The 50 petitioners called on the National Assembly “to investigate the negative impact of the proposed Palmietkuilen Coal mine near Springs which will, amongst others;

1.         Threaten the livelihoods of all people involved in the agricultural and rural development sectors.

2.         Destroy numerous wetlands and the wildlife habitat of the Blesbokspruit and surrounding water bodies.

3.         Threaten sensitive, and productive agricultural industries which contribute to the food security of Gauteng and beyond.

4.         Will irreparably damage the environment and contributing eco systems.

The decision on whether to grant the application for a mining right to Canyon Coal lies entirely in the hands of the Minister of Mineral Resources. Following the adoption in 2014 of the One Environmental System for Mining, the mining industry now falls under national environmental legislation, but the application of the legislation is the sole responsibility of the DMR and the DMR’s Environmental Mineral Resource Inspectorate. It is therefore part of the oversight responsibilities of the PCMR to concern itself with the proper application of the legislation when applications are considered.


1.2        The second objective of the oversight was to understand the extent and nature of the environmental impacts that the DMR has to manage from coal mining.


The expansion of mining has been welcomed for employment and GDP increases, but it has led to a number of problems, which the PC focused on its oversight visit. These were:

  • Conflicting uses between agricultural and mining uses of land and how the DMR approaches this issue when deciding on issuing prospecting rights and mining rights and permits.
  • Environmental impacts of mining on communities since 2004 – this applies to acid mine drainage, dust pollution, cracking of houses and roads due to mining and air pollution from burning mines. The DMR, since December 2014, has newly acquired responsibilities for inspecting mines from an environmental perspective. The Committee wanted to see first-hand how the Regional Office deals with the enormous pressure for inspections caused by mining expansion in Mpumalanga.

1.3        The third objective of the oversight was to follow up on two urgent concerns that emerged from previous activities of the Committee. These were visits to Evander, Mpumalanga to assess progress on the marking of mineworkers’ graves that the Committee visited in 2015; and a meeting with trade union representatives to get feedback on efforts to address the crisis in mine fatalities at Sibanye mines.

  • Visit to Winkelhaak mine, near Evander: The issue of the mineworker’s graves was reported to Parliament in ATC No 18—2016 of 1 March 2016. A local contractor had been employed to build a decent perimeter wall at the gravesite. The DMR informed the Committee of plans to erect a remembrance wall and tombstones for each identified mine worker and engage with the Heritage Council on proclaiming gravesite as Heritage site.
  • Meeting with trades unions in Johannesburg, Gauteng: The meeting is a follow-up to engagements some Committee Members had with unions in recent weeks to discuss mine fatalities. As all the Committee will be in Gauteng, this is an opportunity to formalize Parliament’s concern with issues of mine safety at Sibanye-Stillwater in particular.


2.         Composition of Delegation

2.1        Parliamentary Delegation


The delegation was constituted by the Chairperson of the Committee as the Leader of the delegation, Mr S Luzipo (ANC), Inkosi ZMD Mandela Mr M Matlala (ANC) Ms M Mafolo (ANC), Ms HV Nyambi (ANC) Mr I M Pikinini (ANC),


Accompanying the committee was the Committee Secretary Miss A Boss, Committee Researcher Dr M Nicol, Committee Content Advisor, Mr N Kweyama, Committee Assistant, Ms S Skhosana, Mr B Simons, Communications.


2.2        Guests in Attendance





Mr M Zondi

Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines


Mr A  Tshivhendumo

Regional Manager: Mpumalanga


Ms S Makwela



Ms HH Netshikweta

Acting PIOM


Mr TB Thantsha



Ms NP Khaba

Acting Senior Inspector


Mr J Coetzee



Ms MY Matshilele Ratsela

Assistant Director: Environment


Ms L B Matshingane



Mr M R Masenya

Director: Mine Closure


Mr N Phasha

DD: Mine Economics


Mr T Dube

Chief Executive Officer


Mr L C Martin

Technology & knowledge transfer Facilitator


Ms T C Tekana

Projector Manager: Commemoration of Mining Disaster


Mr TM Tsotetsi

Regional Manager


Mr LT Moshwaiwa

General Manager

Evander Gold Mine

Mr MA Makie

Manager: Human Resources

Evander Gold Mine

Mr NN Ndou

General Counsel


Mr ATV Dladla

GM: Risk and Compliance


Mr ES Sikakane

GM: Corporate Strategy and Planning


Mr PS Maisha

Mine Engineer


Mr DC Dibakoane

General Engineering Superintendent


Mr TM Mathebula

General Manager: Vlakfontein Mine


Mr M Veti

Executive Head Sustainability


Mr M Mthenjane

Executive Head: Stakeholder Affairs


Mr R Mooni

Sustainability Manager, Leeupan Mine


Mr JM Struwig

Plant Manager


Ms M Boschoff

HR Manager


Ms T Leepile

Manager: Community Development


Ms B P Mtshengu

Engineering Manager


Mr MM Mabasa

Mining Manager


Mr S W Swart

Manager: Mine Closure


Mr AA Van Stelten

General Manager: Exxaro coal


Mr T Ratsheko

Group Manager Environment


Mr  V Bayoğlu


Canyon Coal

Mr R E Mugogwa


Canyon Coal

Ms M Pillay

Project Manager for the proposed mine

Canyon Coal

Mr C G Hallatt

Exploration&Mine Development Manager

Canyon Coal

Mr M C Mkhabela

Corporate Communication Consultant

Canyon Coal


3.         Visit to Evander (Winkelhaak Cemetery Project)


Mr LT Moshwaiwa presented feedback on Winkelhaak Cemetery Project.  He said the Cemetery was established in the late fifties. The last burials were in the late eighties and the total number was almost 1,000, but there were no records linking the numbers on the grave plots to the names of people. Apparently, the burials were predominantly employees from foreign countries (SADC). Mainly they were employees who worked for Union Corporation Mines who died of mine related accidents and natural causes. Families were informed by means of a telegram. If no response was received from the family within 10 days, then the deceased employee would be buried. The changes of company ownership could have possibly contributed to loss of information or records. Former and current employees who were present during the period of the burial were interviewed which included the following:

  • Mr Christian Gama, (Hostel Manager).
  • Mr Mgamtini, (NUM Branch Secretary).
  • Mr Marius Pelser, (Mine Observer).
  • Mr Thabo Rathebe, (Miner, shift boss, safety officer).
  • Mr Khoza, (HR).
  • Mr Molomo, (HR).

It was reported that TEBA was consulted and they indicated that they did not keep electronic records on mine employment.


The following are the comments that were made by the Committee when visited Winkelhaak gravesite in July 2015 and action subsequently taken by Evander Mine.




Formation of a Committee

Done, with stakeholders represented.

Reporting matter to SAPS

Done, issue is dealt with by the Hawks.

Creation of a budget

Done. Budget was used to erect memorial at the cemetery and at 8 shaft

Possibility of non-mine employees buried at the site

Hawks still in  the process of tracing the names of the unknown miners.

Special Commemoration for 30- year Kinross Disaster coupled with the unveiling of the Winkelhaak Cemetery.

Done in September 2016. Both Memorial and unveiling.

Follow-up on one grave (Makeleni).

Handed over to the Hawks.

Upgrade the Kinross Memorial at #8 Shaft.


Supply Hostel employees with improved living conditions.

Done, subsequent to that, there was a restructuring and Hostels were demolished due to employees  being retrenched.

Revitalize or rehabilitate abandoned hostel next to Winkelhaak Cemetery.

Applied for rehabilitation funds. Facility is currently being created to draw the funds.

Tracing of people who are in graves and their relatives.

Matter is handled by the Hawks.

Holding Previous owners accountable.

Mineral Council of SA  is part of the committee and matter was raised in the meeting.

Illegal Miners challenges to be addressed.

DMR is part of Committee dealing with illegal mining. The local SAPS is also part of the committee and a lot of illegal miners have been arrested.


3.1        Kinross Mining Disaster-Commemoration and Winkelhaak Cemetery


3.1.1     Background

The Kinross mine disaster is the second biggest mining disaster recorded in South Africa since Coalbrook mining disaster. 177 mine workers died at Kinross and another 235 miners were injured. It was on the 16th of September in 1986, where an acetylene tank sparked flames that swept through the mining tunnel igniting plastic covering on the wiring. The flames also set fire to polyurethane foam that is used to keep walls in the mine dry. The burning plastic combined with polyurethane and churned toxic fumes that filled the shafts, choking miners to death.

2016 marked 30 years, since the disaster took place on 16th September 1986. The Kinross Mine Disaster Commemoration event was held in Mpumalanga, Evander on 16 September 2016, on the 30-year anniversary of the disaster. The commemoration was aimed at honouring the miners who perished in the mine disasters and re-awakening the memory of the deceased, through the unveiling tombstones of the graves at Winkelhaak cemetery and extension of a memorial or wall of remembrance. The primary hosts of the event were Evander Gold Mine, the Department of Mineral Resources, Mine Health & Safety Council, Mining Qualifications Authority, National Union of Mine Workers and the Local Municipality.


The Kinross event was attended by over 3000 people inclusive of mine employees and surrounding communities. Amongst delegates who attended the event, were families (beneficiaries) of the deceased, representatives from government, organized labour, higher learning institutions, companies from the mining and other business sectors, as well as members of the public.


Amongst the dignitaries were; Chief Inspector of Mines & Acting Director General who led the delegation from the Department of Mineral Resources, CEO of Mining Health & Safety Council, CEO: Chamber of Mines (now Minerals Council of South Africa), National Union of Mine Workers H &S Chairperson, Gert Sibande Executive Mayor and Local Traditional Leaders.


Table4.1: Kinross Commemoration Plan



Build a memorial in remembrance mine workers who lost their lives at Kinross Mine Disaster.

Memorial complete.

Identify graves at Winkelhaak Cemetery.

Only 5 of the 1000 graves have been identified- the task still in progress.

Commemoration event in honour of mineworkers who lost their lives in the disaster.

It was held on 16th Sept 2016.

Skills development Programme through bursaries and artisan programme.

MQA committed to fund the skills development programme in the form of 30 bursaries, and 50 artisans learnership.


3.2        National Monument of Mining Disasters


3.2.1     Background

It was reported that City of Johannesburg has been identified as the central place to host the National Monument of Mining Disasters, as the city that was built on the back of mining as well as taking into account the history of mining and its contribution to the economy of South Africa. The city also hosts several mining houses including the Chamber of Mines, now called Minerals Council South Africa.


The Monument will be in the form of a sculpture and a wall of remembrance, whereby all mining disasters will be represented by a plaque, with a brief summary describing the disaster and impact. This is in honour of all mineworkers who lost their lives through mining disasters in South Africa.


3.2.2 National Mining Disasters Commemoration Plan


The intention is to commemorate at least two mining disasters annually, and an annual wreath laying event to be held thereafter at the site of the national monument, in Newtown. A long-term project planned on site is to establish a mining museum, featuring stories of mining disasters as well as the history of mining in South Africa. This will flow well with the worker’s museum located adjacent to site 3 and further enhancing the footprint of a worker’s cultural precinct.


Table 4.2:  National Mining Disasters Commemoration Plan



Unveiling of the national monument.

February 2019.

Mounting plaques of different disasters on the wall of remembrance.

On day of event.

Exhibition on various mining disasters.

On day of event.

Invite various stakeholders and Ambassadors from SADC countries who have been providing labour to SA mining industry.

To attend the event.


Annual wreath laying ceremony, to commemorate at least two mining disasters yearly.


Establish a mining museum featuring stories of mining disasters as well as history of mining.

Long term project.


3.2.3     Progress on the National Monument

The bronze sculpture is almost 100% complete and still at the Foundry, to be assembled when the wall of remembrance and base is completed. The issue of site still being resolved with City of Johannesburg for the building of the wall of remembrance.


3.2. 4    Documentary and Booklet


National Heritage Council (NHC) has been appointed to develop a documentary and a booklet “telling the story of mining disasters”. This project is already in progress, intended for recording and preserving the history of mining disasters in South Africa, with Coalbrook being featured in the Phase 1 of the project. Completion of this project is Oct 2018. Professor Mcebisi Ndletyana and Doctor Brown Maaba have been appointed by NHC to lead the project team.


The Committee visited Kinross Mining Disaster Site (Evander Gold Mine) and Winkelhaak Cemetery and the following is a list of action items to be addressed by the steering committee on commemoration of mining disasters:


  • Mining Companies who owned Kinross Mine and Coalbrook when the disasters took place need to account and take responsibility, with the Department of Mineral Resources playing a leading role.
  • Involvement of traditional leaders in tracing of family members of the deceased in the mining disaster. Tracing of Families- though Public Hearings to be considered.
  • Involvement of the National Heritage Council.
  • Identifying graves at Winkelhaak Cemetery to be continued by the mine with assistance of the Department of Mineral Resources. This will include involvement of SADC Countries because most mineworkers come from these countries.
  • Issue of the Precinct for the National Monument to be in Johannesburg instead of where the mining or disaster took place.
  • Commemoration Budget to be reviewed with consideration of other sources of funding.


4.         Visit to AEMFC


On the first day, the Committee also visited African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation SOC Ltd – the state-owned mining company that operates a coal mine near Ogies, Mpumalanga. Mr M Mathebula presented a site specific hazard awareness induction. The company continued efforts to reduce injuries and maintains and promote a healthy and safe environment for their employees, partners and visitors which also included all persons working or visiting on the mine even for one day. It highlighted various potential hazards present on the mine and the measures taken to prevent accidents.


4.1        Locality and History


Mr Mathebula gave a history of AEMFC and its locality. He said in 2006, the Vlakfontein Prospecting right was granted and in 2008, Drillicon completed exploration drilling. In January 2009, SRK Consulting was appointed to conduct a feasibility study and complete the environmental authorisation applications. During the same year, in August, a mining right application was lodged with the  DMR. In 2010, October/November the mining right was granted and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) was approved. In February 2011, the mine was opened by the former President, Mr JG Zuma and in March the mining started. During 2011, June the first coal from the box was cut and in December 2011, coal was supplied to Kendal Power station. The contract to supply coal to Eskom is still running and the mine is profitable, making no claims on the shareholder (the state) for funds.


4.2        Markets and Reserve Base


In terms of Project Rationale, the mine supplies Eskom’s Kendal Power Stations and is able to supply Kusile for the life of mine (LOM) which is the (next 18 years). The company had low capex as it engaged contractors to operate the mine until May 2017. Furthermore, high volume is expected to improve margins. With regards to operations, there is a flat management structure competitive contracting system. Once the competitiveness of the mine was established, the business model was changed to owner operated.


In terms of Mine design rationale, the strip ratios are balanced to compensate for extracting cheaper coal earlier in the LOM. Qualities are regulated for current power stations considering also Kusile and LOM balance. With regards to Geotechnical issues, box cut stability is balanced against coal recovery and cost. With regards to the surface the mine has to work around infrastructure constraints including a nearby road, N12 with SANRAL, for power lines with Eskom and oil pipelines with TRANSNET.


4.3        Mining Process


The process of mining was outlined, starting with topsoil removal, followed by drilling then blasting. After coal is exposed, it is extracted. With regards to equipment and volumes, it was indicated that there are 7 excavators, 21 ADTS, 2 Grades, 4 Dozers and 1 Water and Diesel Carts. Monthly volumes were forecasted at an average of Waste Volume = 320 000 Bcm and coal volumes = 180 000 - 200 000 tons.



4.4        Health and Safety


It was reported that Vlakfontein mine has mined more than 10 million tons of coal since March 2011 without a fatality and had only 3 Lost Time Injuries during the period. The last Lost time Injury happened in July 2016.


4.4.1 Safety Statistics

AMEFC Safety Stats


Total number of employees


LTI Free Days form last LTI


Fatality Free Production Shifts  (since mine started)


Man hours for July

55, 138

Man hours financial year to date


LTIFR Financial year to date

0 (last LTI was on July 2016)

Fatality Free Days year to date (Since mine started)



4.5        Local Community


The mine recruits its employees from the local community and has more than 50% of its labour force from the Local Municipality. Local Procurement is also encouraged though there are challenges with tax compliance from local business.


4.6        Environmental Authorisation


The Environmental Management Programme (EMP) is for management and monitoring of the impact of mining (dust, blast, noise, vegetation, land capability etc).  The integrated water use licence (IWUL) is for management and monitoring of water usage and quality.


4.6.1     General Environmental Issues:

The following were reported to be on the operational Phase:

  • Blasting impacts.
  • Dust impacts.
  • Noise impacts.
  • Depletion and contamination of water resources on nearby ground and surface water users.
  • Impacts of natural landscapes including wetlands.

The following were reported to be on the decommission phase:

  • Decanting of contaminated water.
  • Land degradation.


4.6.2     Vlakfontein Mine Issues:


It was reported that blasting and dust impacted on the neighbouring “Twoline community”. The company put short term remedial measures in place including monthly monitoring. The long term remedial measure is to relocate the residents to Phola Community.



4.6.3     Vlakfontein Rehabilitation Issues


It was reported that rehabilitation process occurs concurrently with mining. The rehabilitation status at the moment was reported to be delayed due to lack of space for fill in material from the previous pit.


The following remedies were reported:

  •  Annual assessment of rehabilitation and funds.
  • Current rehabilitation liability is at R34,084,616.15.
  • Financial provision amount was over R73m deposited with the DMR.
  • Re-design of the rehabilitation plan (to ensure that space is managed so as to fill the pit correctly as the ground is mined).


4.7.       Success Highlights


The following success highlights were reported:

  • Profitable since the first year of full production (2012) to date.
  • Coal Supply Agreement (CSA) with ESKOM to 2020.
  • A credible safety record- no fatalities, no Lost Time Injuries in 2017/2018 – none so far to end June 2018.
  • Unqualified audit opinion since establishment (clean audit for 2016/17).
  • Two acquisitions: uMzimkhulu Mining (26%) and Chilwavhusku Colliery (40%).
  • BBBEE Facilitator status with DTI for the next 10 years was awarded in 2016/17.
  • Moved from mining contractor to owner mining in 2017.
  • AEMFC employs 252 employees in total mainly from Phola Township.
  • Relocated 25 families from Twoline Community to fully serviced stands in Phola Township.


4.8        Financial Performance


The Financial Performance was reported for a period of 3 years


Statement of Comprehensive Income

Audited 2018


Actual 2017


Actual 2016



Cost of sales







Gross Profit




Other Operating Income


Employee Costs



(  79,033)



(   67,713)



( 57,627)

Operating Profit




Finance Income

Finance Cost







Profit before taxation








Profit for the Year





4.9        Current Operations in Vlakfontein


  • In Central Block, 1.5 months remaining (approximately 0.5 million tons) ending in September 2018.
  • In Eastern Block, 3,3 Mt ROM and coal mining in progress since mid-December 2017.
  • In Northern Block, 13.50 Mt ROM and all regulatory approvals received.
  • In Bunker Block, 48 Mt ROM and LOM is for 19 years.


It was stated that a Capital Expenditure of R121 million to develop the North Block is required.


4.10      Joint Ventures


The following Joint Ventures were reported:


Mzimkhulu Mining (Ogies):

  • AEMFC 26% shareholding in a black owned company.
  • Coal production to Kusile – 3.0 million tons per annum.
  • Employs 200 people mainly from Ogies/Phola.


Chilwavhusiku Colliery (Bronkhorstspruit);


  • AEMFC 40% shareholding in a black owned company.
  • Coal production to Kusile – 900 000 tons per annum.
  • Employs 120 people mainly from Bronkhorstspruit.


4.11      The following were reported to be projects on the pipeline:

4.11.1   Klippoortjie:


  • Outstanding regulatory approvals.
  • IWULA: Presentation to DWS on 11 June 2018 and awaiting DWS.
  • Mining Rights: Accepted in February 2013 and the revised SLP submitted to DMR on 24 May 2018.
  • Environmental authorisation (EMP and EIA) granted.


4.11.2   T-Projects (major expansion):


  • Finalising off-take agreement with ESKOM.
  • Capex funding still a challenge (R3.7 billion needs to be raised).
  • Sasol has shown an interest in acquiring T-project.


4.11.3   Vardocube (Pty) Ltd:


  • Approval by the AEMFC Board of the 26% acquisition on 25 November 2016
  • Approval by CEF Board on 10 November 2017.
  • Pending s54 approval by Minister DOE (acquisition of a significant asset).


4.11.4   Rare Earth Elements:


  • Final Report on the recovery of REE by Mintek on 18 May 2018.
  • Awaiting a formal proposal by Mintek for the Project next phase.


4.12      The following challenges were reported:


  • Lack of funding to support the proposed project pipeline and acquisitions for growth:

- T Project                                 :           R3.6 billion.

- Klipportjie                               :           R600 million.

- Vlakfontein Extensions            :           R121 million.

- Other possible acquisitions (e.g. Optimum, Arnot, South 32).

  • Finalisation of the AEMFC Bill process, to make the state-owned mining company a stand-alone entity of the DMR.
  • Completion of AEMFC hiving off process, away from its status as a subsidiary of CEF Group (SOC) Ltd.


4.13      The following were reported to be the growth opportunities:


  • AEMFC working closely with DMR to facilitate the acquisition of assets from the Private Sector E.g. Optimum and Arnot (the former Exxaro colliery).
  • AEMFC interest in the prospecting and mining rights that have reverted back to DMR.
  • Distressed/Under care and maintenance assets that can be turned around to save jobs and create new opportunities.


4.14      Litigation Matters:


AEMFC reported on the matter of appeal with DMR: MAHNES Areas (Fef: 214 PR).

  • Old order prospecting rights – new order right to HCI/Khusela.
  • Former DG of DMR refused to reverse.
  • AEMFC appealed.


4.15      Members raised the following questions and Concerns:


  • The mine started its operation in June 2011 and it has been making profits. The central block has been mined for the past seven years now. When will evidence of land rehabilitation be seen?
  • Members were interested to see the living conditions for the people who were relocated.
  • Clarity was sought on the 90% employment with reference to race and age group and also the country of origin.


4.15.1   AEMFC responded as follows:


  • On the question of categories, it was indicated that there were 2 white ladies, everyone black, no coloured and Indians. No one is coming from borders outside of South Africa. There were 3 people who were over 50 and 2 were going to pension this year. In the Management at the Head Office, 2 females out of 6 in the Exco and all are black. In Vlakfontein Management 4 female out of 11.
  • AEMFC was initially exempted from submitting a SLP but this was subsequently withdrawn. The mine has an approved SLP like any other mine, despite being owned by the state.
  • With regards to rehabilitation, backfilling has been done and about 40% has been rehabilitated.


5.         Visit to Leeuwpan Mine (Exxaro)


Mr M Mthenjane, Executive Head Stakeholder Affairs welcome the delegation and outlined the programme for the day. Before proceeding, Mr R Mooni, Sustainability Manager in Leeuwpan mine gave an induction and Safety briefing.  Mr M Sethethi, Leeuwpan Mine Manager made a presentation on the Operation, Safety, Environment, Rehabilitation and Social Performance.



  1. Background


Leeuwpan mine is situated in Delmas, Mpumalanga Province   - 75 km from Pretoria. With regards to employment 582 are permanent positions. There are 552 permanent contractors (Maximum, Plant, Dust-A-Side, Liviero, Lomeza, PlastCor, B&E, Fraser Alexander, etc), 550 other contractors (Shut downs, and other once off). The mine bought reserves form Southern Sphere in 1988 (Mineral rights). Exploration at Leeuwpan Coal mine started in 1989 under Iscor. First Box Cut developed in June 1992 with crushing and screening of Run of Mine (ROM). Pilot washing plant was erected in 1995 to do bulk testing. Dense medium Separation plant for commercial production was commissioned in January 1997. Jig processing plant for power station production was commissioned in August 2005. Crust and stack plant for power station coal was commissioned in 2010. The mine produces 4 million tons of coal per annum. It has reserves up to 2030.


This mine has the following Market Segments:

  • Steel: Mittal.
  • Domestic: PPC, Amplats, Lafarge, Sephaku.
  • Eskom: Majuba Power Station (Tendered).
  • Exports: RBCT (5200Kcal an PSC).


The mine has three Beneficiation processes:

  • Dense Medium Separation Plant, (DMS) with 2 modules 240 tons per hour per module.
  • Frazer DMS Plant 350 tons per hour.
  • Crush and Stack Plant 300 tons per hour.


An illustration of neighbouring farms was presented where the Mine Manager indicated that the mine formally consults with neighbouring mines and other I&A parties with regards to issues affecting the communities.


5.1.1     Processing Plants

DMS:    Insourced Operation (Managed by LPT Exxaro).

            5700/5200kCal/kg Export Coal.

            480tph (2 modules).

            Domestic and Export market.

            RB2/3 quality coal for LPN.


FA DMS Plant:              Managed and operated by Fraser Alexander (Cost per ton Principle.

                                    5200kCal/kg Export Coal.


                                    Domestic and Export market.                                                                                        RB3 quality coal for LPN.


Crush and Stack:          Managed and operated by B& E International (Cost per ton principle.

                                    Power Station Coal.


                                    Domestic and Export market.

                                    Lowest quality coal for LPN.


Railway Facility:                       Managed and operated by Exxaro.

(Rapid Load Out Station)          Domestic and Export Trains.

Compliant to Railway Safety Standards.


The Mine Manager reported on the Leeuwpan Lifex project. The extension of life of mine by 11 years. R0.5bn Capital Investment (Farms and associated infrastructure). This will create temporary and permanent jobs (Contractors).


5.2        Sustainability Performance


Leeuwpan mine has received different accolades in the coal and broader mining industry with regards to their safety performance. It was reported that 29 years were without fatalities, Mine Wide Lost Time Injury (LTI) Free Days (target 364) was 355 Fatal Free Production Shifts was 24,077 and Fatal Free man Shifts was 7,151,243.


With regards to DMR Inspectorates Audits/Inspections it was reported that DMR has visited Leeuwpan man 15 times this year and only a single Section 54 notice was issued in more than 6 years.


The Mine Manager reported that Leeuwpan Mine has all the required permits, exemptions and environmental authorizations under the NEMA, NWA and MPRDA.


5.3        Rehabilitation


The Mine Manager presented the rehabilitation process and also took the delegation to the areas where concurrent rehabilitation was performed. Members were satisfied with this whole process, seeing how mined areas were now grassed fields.


With regards to land use, Leeuwpan Mine has a broad strategy for assisting upcoming farmer entrepreneurs to make use of the land released after mining. (Partnering with existing farmers).


5.4        Financial Provisions


It was indicated that Leeuwpan complies with the existing MPRDA sec 43 and is in preparation to comply with the new Regulation 1147 (Financial Provisions for prospecting, mining and decommissioning) by Feb 2019 (provision on immediate Closure) Exxaro has a central environmental trust.


5.5        Social and Labour Plan Performance


Local Economic Development Performance:


Local Ring-fenced Opportunities

New Opportunities


Rehabilitation (Mining Mainstream


R30 m contract started

55 Learners (Business Admin, Wholesale and Retail, Detailed and User Computer)



50 Driver Licences



26 Multiskilled Operators



Yes Initiatives (40 Young People)



Industrial Cleaning




5.6        Members raised the following questions and concerns


  • How is the relationship with neighbouring mines on SLPs? Do they work together?
  • How is the relationship with Eskom?
  • What will happen to the infrastructure when the mine closes?
  • Any HIV/Aids diseases experienced by employees?
  • How many females in top management?
  • With reference to 11 SMMEs, what are they doing?
  • Makua, is the entity 100% owned by the Council or does it only have 2 representatives?
  • Concerned by transformation and empowerment.
  • Plans in 2019 on land issues once rehabilitation is complete.
  • How can there be no contract between the farmers and the mine?
  • Clarity on indefinite contract and how is it different form no contract?
  • Clarity was requested on the 15 annual visits by DMR inspectors to a mine where there seemed to be very low risk.
  • Members learned that there is a good relationship between the organised labour (NUM) and the company. There are monthly meetings with unions and future forums every quarter.


5.7        Responses


  • Leeupan works cooperatively with other mines on the SLP but there have been huge challenges in Delmas because of political chaos within the local municipality in recent months. There is a constructive relationship with the Makua Traditional Council which has full control over the organisation.
  • Until earlier in 2018 the relationship with Eskom management at a corporate level was very tense because of the Arnot issue, which is now under arbitration. There is now a huge improvement in relationships, although this was not affected at mine level.
  • 35% of top management are women.
  • SMMEs provide services to the mine and are assisted with business advice and even loans so they can have the resources to fulfil contracts.
  •  Exxaro was the most empowered of all the coal companies, but BEE holdings are now at 30%, down from 52%, because founding shareholders needed to raise funds.
  • Mining companies are very big land owners internationally. Exxaro is aware of climate change challenges and the need to generate energy from renewable sources. It is developing a strategy to concentrate on land, looking at food, water and energy.
  • Much of the land is leased to farmers when it is not being mined. In most cases there is a contract for leasing the land for a fixed term. In some cases, there is no contract because when the land was acquired it was agreed to lease it back to the previous owner without any time limit.
  • There has been a drastic increase in the number of mine visits by DMR since 2016. The management could not explain this as they are not a problematic mine. (The Regional Manager of DMR was not able to explain why mine inspections had increased so much).


6.         Visit to Canyon Coal


The third day of the oversight visit was dedicated to the petition was referred to the PCMR by the Speaker (ATC No 63 – 2017). The Committee wanted to evaluate concerns that have been raised by the 50 petitioners regarding the proposed development of a new mine at Palmietkuilen near Springs, Gauteng (Lesedi Local Municipalities). The petition calls on the National assembly to investigate negative impact of the proposed development, more specifically:

  • Threat to livelihoods of all people involved in the agricultural and rural development sectors.
  • Destruction of numerous wetlands and the wildlife habitat of the Blesbokspruit and surrounding water bodies.
  • Threat to sensitive and productive agricultural industries which contribute to the food security of Gauteng and beyond.
  • the possible irreparable damage to the environment and contributing eco system.

The PCMR also wanted to understand the extent and nature of the environmental impacts that the DMR must manage. The Committee visited both the applicant (Canyon Coal, who is the applicant for the mining right) as well as the petitioners (who are residents of the areas adjacent to or close to Palmietkuilen) to fully understand issues pertaining to the proposed Mine development, whose application is still under consideration by the DMR.


6.1        Presentation by Canyon Coal


An overview of the mine was presented by the CEO of the company Mr Vuslat Bayoğlu. He reported that the company has 700 million tons of reserves situated in four existing coal mines (namely Hakhano and Singani, Phalanndwa, Khanye, De Wittkrans and Ukufisa). Coal output is processed using three processing plants that have an output of 7 million tons per annum. The group has an allocation of 2,65 million tons of coal at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT). The CEO reported that the company has a good working relationship with the DMR, despite minor problems that can be expected in any relationship. Furthermore, he wanted to put it on record that the company has already undergone three rounds of public participation processes with regards to its application for the mining right at Palmietkuilen.


Miss M Pillay, an environmental scientist who is the project manager, presented information on the proposed project to the Committee. The mining application pertains to portions 1, 2, 4, 13 and 19 of the farm (Palmietkuilen 241IR) of the Sedibeng District Municipality, however mining and associated infrastructure will be limited to portions 2 and 19. The proposed development which will have a total reserves of 174 million tons with a pit area of 875 ha. The submission of the mining right application was done on the 4th of August 2016 while the submission of the additional Public Consultation Report and Poultry Impact assessment took place on the 30th of April 2018.


The following specialist studies were conducted:

  • Pedology                                  Heritage                                    Groundwater
  • Traffic                                       Surface Water                           Hydropedological
  • Air Quality                                 Aquatics                                   Noise
  • Fauna and Flora                        Socio Economic                       Poultry             
  • Visual GIS                                 Wetlands                                  Rehabilitation and Closure

Main issues that were raised during the Impact Assessment Process (with interested and affected parties - IAP).


  •             Insufficient public consultation.
  •             Loss of agricultural potential and topsoil degradation.
  •             Impact on food security.
  • Health issues due to an increase of dust.
  •             Contamination of surface water.
  • Contamination of groundwater.
  •             Job losses and resettlement.
  • Decrease in property values.


According to Ms. Pillay, the company reported the following initiatives that were undertaken to address the above concerns;


6.1.1     Insufficient public consultation:


  • Background information documents were distributed.
  • Newspaper advertisement were broadcasted.
  • Public meetings were held.
  • Open house meeting was held.
  • Community meeting with employees of the Schoeman Boerdery took place.
  • Focus group meetings were conducted.
  • There were site visits by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), DMR and other government departments.
  • Meetings were held with other stakeholders like DA representatives.


6.1.2     Loss of agricultural potential and topsoil degradation:


  • Farming and mining will take place concurrently as the full extent of the pit will not be mined immediately.
  • Approximately only 20 ha of land used per annum will be used for mining (mining will happen sequentially accompanied by concurrent rehabilitation).
  • The pit will be rehabilitated to grazing land as a minimum requirement.
  • Material (including topsoil) will be returned in sequence into the void to optimize land capability post mining.
  • Soils to be reconstructed to pre-mining arable land capabilities.
  • Soil amelioration includes, ripping, seeding and restoring soil fertility, analysing soil nutrients, applying fertilizer, annual analysis until soil fertility cycle is restored at the determined rate.

6.1.3     Impact on food security:


  • Loss of agricultural land will not pose a risk to food security.
  • Only 5% of the national maize production comes from Gauteng (DAFF, 2017).
  • Total arable land available in SA: is 93.5 million ha (AGRI SA, 2017).
  • Only 1300 ha will be disturbed by the mine over 53 years, which is equivalent to 0,0013 loss in SA and 0.2% loss in Gauteng.
  • Economic perspective: the loss of agricultural production will be off-set by more than times in the mining sector production and jobs created.

6.1.4     Health issues due to an increase of dust


  • AEMOD (atmospheric dispersion modelling) air quality models indicate that dust deposition will not exceed health standards outside of the project area if the air quality mitigation measures are implemented.
  • Travelling speeds on dirt roads will be implemented, the use of dust sprayers and drop heights at tipping points will ensure that air quality impact will be confined within the mine boundary.


6.1.5     Contamination of surface water:


  • Storm water Management Plan will be implemented.
  • Construction of clean and dirty water channels.
  • Clean water to be diverted away from the mine and into the surrounding wetlands, reducing water losses in the catchment.
  • Contaminated dirty water will be contained on the mine and reused in the plant or for dust suppression.

6.1.6     Contamination of the Blesbokspruit (Surface Water):


  • Mining area does not include the Blesbokspruit.
  • Blesbokspruit is approximately 5 km from the infrastructure and 6 km from the pit.
  • Surface water management infrastructure will prevent any contaminated water reaching the Blesbokspruit and associated streams.

6. 1.7    Contamination of Aston Lake (surface water):


  • Mining of Aston Lake and properties to the west will not take place.
  • Infrastructure is located 1.5 km from Aston Lake and 3 km from the pit.
  • Dirty water channels around the mine will prevent polluted water entering the lake.
  • Water quality of the lake is poor.


6.1.8     Impact on boreholes and water supply:


  • According to the groundwater model used, boreholes that will be impacted by a 5m drawdown or any contamination are all located within the mining area except for one nearby resident borehole.
  • All containment dams, storm water facilities and pollution control dams will be lined to prevent infiltration of contaminated seepage.
  • All back filled areas will be rehabilitated and revegetated.
  • Groundwater monitoring program will be implemented to detect any pollution.
  • Impacted water users will be supplied with water should there be any contamination from the mine.

6.1.9     Job losses and resettlement:


  • Direct employment by the mine: 320.
  • Indirect employment (790 construction).
  • Increase in the average household income.
  • Employees at the Schoeman Boerdery will not lose their jobs as farming activities will continue.
  • There are currently 6985 unemployed people of working age at Lesedi, proposed mine will directly reduce this figure.
  • There will be not resettlement of any communities.
  • Canyon has been successful in co-existing with communities and farmers at current operations. Such strategies will be implemented for the proposed project.

6.1.10   Decrease in property values


  • There is no definitive proof that the presence of a mine will reduce property values.
  • It is perceived that a potential exists for an increase in the property market activity due to the influx of people into the area because of the mine.
  • Property values will not be negatively affected given the presence of current and historical mining activities and footprints.


6.1.11   Impact to poultry farming


  • The closest poultry farm is Rossgro.
  • Rossgro has declined to be involved in two specialist studies Economic Impact Assessment and Poultry Impact Assessment.
  • Mitigation measures proposed will ensure that the neighbouring chicken farms will not be impacted.
  • Canyon is successfully co-existing with a poultry farm in Bronkhorstspruit and believe the same is possible with Rossgro.

Other Canyon mining project have co-existed successfully with agricultural activities and nearby communities without any major disturbance to the environment and quality of life. In conclusion Canyon stated that compared to farming, mining is a highly regulated industry, and the company is committed to implementing the management and mitigation measures as outlined in the environmental management plan. The group always ensures that the natural and social environment is taken care of during operational activities, finally the company is committed to establishing good working relationships with the surrounding communities, stakeholders and government departments.


7.         Meeting with Petitioners


The delegation met with the Environmentalist form the Grootvaly/Blesbokspruit Conservation Trust, Farmers and employees and the Petitioners. The aim of the meeting was to get briefing from the petitioners that wrote to the Speaker of Parliament on the opening of the new coal mine in the Palmietuin  area.


7.1        These were the concerns raised:


  • In 2006, the government of Gauteng declared the area as an agricultural hub in the official Spatial Development Framework. If mining is going to take place then it will decrease the chances of progress for agriculture.
  • The proposed mine is right next door to wetlands of international importance that have been recognised as a RAMSAR site by the United Nations.  The wetland is already under threat due to overpopulation and pollution from sewerage. The proposed mine will increase negative impacts with pollution from stormwater that will flow into the catchment area and then into the Vaal River.
  • The area is an important for cultural value. It is used by churches as a cultural venue.
  • Past gold mining has left huge problems for conversation. These were all underground mines. This is the first open cast mine in the area and it threatens to leave still more scars on the land for future generations to deal with.
  • Whatever happens on the mine will have negative impact on the river and drinking water. Mining contaminates the water system.
  • There is already a problem of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) and another mine will increase the risks posed to the environment. It is dirtying the water again. AMD water is chemically toxic and radioactive.
  • Water will decant from a mine for ever, taxpayers will be left with the problem after the mine leaves.
  • They promise rehabilitation but no agricultural land is returned to a state where it can be used again for feeding our own people. The mine takes over 1,000 hectares of some of the best agricultural land in Lesedi.
  • Rehabilitation funds still need to be released to rehabilitate the damage done by the Grootvlei mine. Some slimes dams have collapsed. R350-m of funds are said to be held to deal with damage from Pamodzi but it has never been spent. They say they will rehabilitate. It does not happen.
  • The applicant’s environmental specialists did not involve all people who supposed to be in the public participation. At the last meeting they bussed in unemployed residents. There was chaos and the options were not fully explained.
  • Mpumalanga/Lesedi is the best place to grow maize. This is dry land agriculture that does not need irrigation. Very little of South Africa’s land is so suited for agriculture. If mining takes place it will be described as a disaster.
  • The economy will take a huge dent if this mining operation is opened in the area.
  • Mining is short term and agriculture will benefit generations to come.
  • Mpumalanga is a fog area and people felt that they will inhale dust that will cause respiratory diseases.
  • If mining takes place, people feared about their houses because when blasting takes place it cracks the walls of their houses.
  • The law requires the DMR to favour the best practicable environmental option. It must select the option that involves the least damage to the environment. The best option for the area is agriculture and tourism, not mining. The whole of Mpumalanga is underlain by coal. There is lots of coal elsewhere. There is no need to mine coal here.
  • The impacts of coal mining are externalised onto communities. There is an inter-generational impact that carries on for years after the mining jobs have gone.
  • There are other alternatives to mining for economic development and jobs. The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) is the custodian of this area as the Lesedi Agricultural Hub. Yet they do not support you. Many more jobs could be created from agriculture and from the processing of agricultural products.
  • The whole world is turning away from coal. Coal mining is associated with climate change, drought and impacts on maize farming in the future.


8.         Meeting with    Unions


In his opening remarks, the Chairperson of the PCMR Hon S Luzipo, expressed regret on the oversight date which coincided with the Marikana commemoration, since the Committee has no power to alter the Parliamentary program, however he made an undertaking to find a way that will accommodate AMCU soon. Furthermore, the Chair was also concerned about job losses and fatalities currently affecting the industry. Mr. Luzipo explained that the role of the Committee is to listen and later make recommendations on how best to address issues affecting organized labour. A moment of silence was observed for the 34 deceased victims of Marikana.


8.1        Presentation by Organized Labour


It was explained that the presentation contained a consolidated input from the following trade unions (NUM, UASA, AMCU and Solidarity). Organized labour also lamented the scourge of mining fatalities prevalent in the industry (year to date 58 mineworkers have been killed compared to 51 by August 2018) this represented a 14 percent year on year increase and Gauteng is leading with the highest number of fatalities.

The presentation by organized labour was divided into 5 main sections, namely:

8.1.1     Introduction.

8.1.2     Commitment Statement.

81.3      Challenges.

8.1.4     Recommendations.

8.1.5     Conclusion.              Introduction


Each respective trade union conducted its own interrogation into the health and safety challenges at Sibanye-Stillwater. What is presented here is a collaboration of the findings, with each element considered to be vital in understanding possible causes to the unusual and tragic events at Sibanye-Stillwater operations (especially in the gold division), from January to June 2018. We have termed this the ‘Sibanye-Stillwater Storm of 21.

We believe all the elements listed below and possibly more, in different ways, have acted together to create a situation where 21 mining fatalities occurred between 1 January 2018 and 30 June 2018.

In presenting the following, we make it known that the interrogations conducted showed the elements listed operated in synthesis with each other, in varying ways, leading to the observed outcome (fatalities) at Sibanye-Stillwater. 

Some of the listed elements require further research, not only to fully understand the Sibanye-Stillwater Storm of 21 but to better understand why such fatalities keep happening and what solutions will work in the current context to stem this tragic tide.  Such efforts should and must go beyond Sibanye-Stillwater.              Commitment Statement


Together as Organized Labour we commit ourselves not only to represent our membership interests within the mining industry, as it relates to health and safety, but also to work in concert with each other. union, employers and the state and we fully encourage tripartitism in reaching solutions. 


We recognize the independence of each stakeholder but together we pledge ourselves to achieving Zero Harm.


We recognize the huge improvement in conditions of safety and health since the promulgation of the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA), No. 29 of 1996 (as amended), and the tripartitism which underlies the MHSA. We also do recognize the massive disease burden existent in the mining sector and the legacy this has created.


We commit ourselves to the Objects of the Act:

To provide for protection of the health and safety of employees and other persons at mines and, for that purpose.

  1. to promote a culture of health and safety;
  2. to provide for the enforcement of health and safety measures;
  3. to provide for appropriate systems of employee, employer and State participation in health and safety matters;
  4. to establish representative tripartite institutions to review legislation, promote health and enhance properly targeted research;
  5.  to provide for effective monitoring systems and inspections, investigations and inquiries to improve health and safety;
  6.  to promote training and human resources development;
  7. to regulate employers' and employees' duties to identify hazards and eliminate, control and minimize the risk to health and safety;
  8. to entrench the right to refuse to work in dangerous conditions;
  9. to give effect to the public international law obligations of the Republic relating to mining health and safety; and to provide for matters connected therewith.


Moreover, we acknowledge international law, commitments, regulations, pledges and the many efforts to bring to an end to the terrible effects on employees’ health and safety from work. Together, we strive for occupational health and safety excellence.


The following challenges were presented:


  1.       Climate of Fear, Threats and Intimidation.


8.2.1     Numerous reports of legitimate health and safety concerns are discouraged from being reported and acted on where such hinders production:


  • Full Time Health and Safety Representatives (FTHSRs) are actually ignored in their health and safety findings (across Sibanye-Stillwater ops).
  • Threats are issued of being ‘paraded’ if any s23 rights are acted on

(Driefontein, Kloof and Beatrix).

  • Employees are also blamed for NOT using their s22 and s23 rights

(obligations) when clear health and safety issues emerge (like a Fall of

Ground) (across Sibanye-Stillwater ops).           

  1. If crew members, FTHSR, and in some cases Safety Officers, raise health and safety concerns they are met with threats to their jobs:


  • At both Beatrix and West Wits operations, such reports are met with threats of transfers.
  • Driefontein and Kloof FTHSRs are told that most of their legitimate health and safety concerns raised are ‘not part of their portfolios.
  • Rustenburg ops: employees are charged (or threatened with such) for not following instructions.


  1. Blame culture: ‘us vs them’ culture evident at Sibanye-Stillwater, where workers blame management and management blame workers for incidents or things which go wrong, as to health and safety.

This creates an atmosphere of confusion as employees are both prevented from using their rights but then blamed for not doing so. It also, of course, creates a climate of fear where an employee (mine worker), who has health and safety rights as per the MHSA, may indeed be prevented from the freedom necessary to exercise such rights, with an eye to prevention.


  1. Neglect and Lack of Concern:


  1. When health and safety concerns are raised:


  • Driefontein, Kloof and Beatrix line management do not take health

and safety concerns seriously and ignore reports.

  • Substandard conditions seem to be accepted at Beatrix.


  1. Line management and management in general seem not to have been concerned with any health and safety issues, but only once there is a fatality or an accident.

Leaders and those responsible for health and safety display an attitude of neglect for

employees’ lives and hence employees are prompted not to address health and safety challenges with appropriate care and seriousness.


  1. Shortage of Labour


  1. Complaints of this element received across all Sibanye-Stillwater operations.


  1. Crews are usually short on numbers to reasonably meet targets.


  1. Night shift crews short of labour and workload not managed sufficiently (esp.

             Driefontein and Kloof).  For Rustenburg Ops, in all stoping areas: per crew: RDOs down from 5 to 3;

Timbermen down from 3 to 2 or 1; Miners Assistant (chisa) down from 2 to

1; and Winch Operators down from 3 to 2; complaints of Miners’ workload:

some responsible for up to 4 panels (sometimes on different cross-cuts); and

Loader Operator down from 2 or 3 to 1.  Beatrix: Winch Drivers down from 3 to 1; RDOs down from 5 to 3; and

stoping labour down from 4 to 1 or 2.


It is not clear to employees how mine management has adjusted targets as per crew

compliment but it remains a deep concern that crews are short of the labour they determine is necessary to perform their work safely and efficiently.


  1. Production (supremacy) Primary over Health and Safety


  1. Complaints of this element received across all Sibanye-Stillwater operations.


  1. Bonus pay system effectively replaces health and safety primacy: Line management focuses on achieving targets for the panel and neglects legitimate health and safety concerns; the bonus incentive creates a negation of health and safety risks and hazards, and the controls for them.


  1. Risk is directly increased due to focus on targets, long hours of work, fatigue

           and lack of concentration, ignorance of health and safety risks present.


  1. Often the crew and FTHSRs are threatened (as above in 4.3).


  1. Mine Overseers overrule Stop & Fix notices by Safety Officers (Rustenburg

operations) or discourage the issuance of such notices in stopes (Driefontein and Kloof).


  1. Differing system of bonuses for up-dip and breast mining causing preferential

treatment of different mining practices; Special Areas bonus only achieved if

targets for Miner and Shift Supervisor achieved; and no gradation of bonus

(e.g. if 80% of target reached, then some bonus) (Driefontein and Kloof).


  1. Shift Supervisors in particular are pressurized to shift focus to production

instead of on safety (Driefontein and Kloof).


This has been a long-standing concern in the South African Mining Industry (SAMI).

Clearly, with Sibanye-Stillwater it has not sufficiently been addressed, according to

employees at the stope. There is a clear role for the pressures such bonus incentives create on working safely and with care, towards prevention.


  1. Poor Communication


  1. Roles, functions and duties of contractors (permanent and project based) are not clearly conveyed to permanent employees (across all Sibanye-Stillwater ops), creating uncertainty.


  1. Important health and safety information is not shared fully to all affected:


  1. Conveying health and safety information to employees and making certain

they understand is grossly inadequate (Beatrix).

  1. Risk Assessment findings not shared effectively and also linked to

occupations and employees performing various tasks with these risks


  1. Safety Officers’ reporting line is to the Mine Overseer but does not involved

the Health, Safety and Environment Department, it appears (Beatrix).


  1. Only the Miner and not the crew is informed of the seismicity ratings and

such are poorly explained nor understood by the crew and FTHSRs.


  1. Temperature readings are not shared (Driefontein and Kloof).


  1. Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) findings not fully shared (across all

Sibanye-Stillwater ops).


Poor communication feeds into all the elements addressed above and below. As expected, it is a clear contributor to the Sibanye-Stillwater storm.


  1. Ground Conditions and Mining Practices


  1. Complaints for this element received across all Sibanye-Stillwater operations


  • Wall conditions are risky and also the effect of uncontrolled water (esp Beatrix).
  • Winches have to pull ore over extremely long distances, posing greater risks which are not sufficiently managed (esp. Beatrix).



  1. Seismicity is frequent and it is not clear to crews how this is being managed

(link to 4.6 above).


  1. Rock Engineers and Geologists:
  2. Both seem to lack knowledge of deep mines.
  3. No clear guidance to employees on pillar mining in old mines.
  4. Geologists are not visibly visiting underground (UG) and if so, findings are not shared (confidence in ground conditions are not shared).
    1. Special Areas are not monitored regarding their special nature.
    2. Geologists and Rock Engineers contradict each other’s findings.
    3. Strata Control Observers are sent but Geologists and Engineers evidently do not provide oversight.
  5. Geological conditions such as faults and dykes do not get included in

            recommendations by Geologist (what to do about them).


  1. Old areas or mined-out areas are being pillaged for materials: reclamations

             without adequate Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments (HIRAs) being   
             conducted nor training on how and why to do this work (Driefontein and



  1. Bias to begin production: morning (or day) shift assisted by management to

travel quickly to panels but afternoon work locos and cages are reallocated to

           manage material conveyance instead of man conveyance: makes for employees

           to exit the mine over long periods, adding to lack of rest and fatigue for next

shift (employees must walk ling distances and wait for long periods for cages)

           (Driefontein and Kloof).


These are significant conditions and of special significance are the challenges posed by the Rock Engineers and Geologists, coupled with the cost-cutting measures in reclaiming materials and mining old areas.


  1. Health and Safety System Failure


  1. Complaints of this element received across all Sibanye-Stillwater operations.

8.8.2     Responsibility and concern for health and safety only seems to be important. and indeed, exercised once an accident or fatality has occurred:

  1. Hence, health and safety management is not consistently maintained by

            management in general, but production is always primary.

  1. Not enough time taken to perform safety functions such as Early Entry

Examinations, checking and replacing support – due to pressure to meet

production targets and hence bonus (across Sibanye-Stillwater gold ops).

  1. Inadequate installation of roof support and incompetence (Platinum ops).
  2. Bad PPE quality (Platinum ops).
  3. Neglect of employees’ health (poor control and oversight of TB and HIV)

            (Platinum ops).

  1. More substandard conditions exist where contractors work and there is

            no real oversight of these by Sibanye-Stillwater (Beatrix).

  1. No proper channels to report challenges (Beatrix).


  1. Below noted for gold operations especially:


  • Collaboration between Safety Officers, FTHSRs and Health and Safety Committees is weak: seems like a tick-box exercise for Safety Officers and overdependence on FTHSRs Safety Officers only audit but do not coach, share findings or explain findings to FTHSRs so they understand and can action where necessary.
  • FTHSRs are not respected in their roles and functions.
  • Union Reps are not involved in the development of mine standards.
  • Stop & Fix notices are not being issued where needed but if issued: no real follow-up nor oversight.
  • Poor supervision of night shift, with no FTHSRs nor Safety Officers.
  • HIRAs, Issue-based Risk Assessments and Mini-Risk Assessments are not conducted collaboratively: often the crew’s role is neglected, and findings are not explained nor shared with them.
  • Weekly Safety Meetings at shafts actually focus on issues of production and not on health and safety matters; FTHSRs are discouraged from raising any health and safety issues here and if they are raised, such is ignored.


The existing health and safety systems on many Sibanye-Stillwater mines evidently do not allow for reasonable and full engagement on health and safety issues with which employees are concerned, nor the ability for them to control their working environment. Challenges noted in sections 4.2 – 4.6 appear to work in symbiosis, hampering adequate health and safety control measures by those persons required to act according to the MHSA (crew, FTHSRs, Safety Officers, Supervisors and Line Management). This is a vital contributor to the storm.


  1.     Food Ban


  1. No food allowed underground in Sibanye-Stillwater gold operations since November2017: reports that this ban has led to many workers in gold operations becoming fatigued and losing concentration and thus unable to fully perform their health and safety functions. Lack of attention given to sub-standard conditions and hazards, some of which have been found only after accidents (Driefontein and Kloof).



This may be a key element to the storm but further investigation is needed. It certainly makes sense and employees are reporting such.


  1. Section 189 (LRA) Layoffs:


As yet unclear how these have fully affected or contributed to the fatalities in the SAMI, but it remains a clear concern that the compliment of labour for many mines was decreased yet no clear explanation on how targets for production are adjusted still to meet the employers’ bottom line and maintain profitability, yet not impact the time and diligence required to maintain a healthy and safe workplace. This needs further investigation and these element employers need to address.


  1. Failures from the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR):


  1. Reports of unprofessional and inappropriate relationships with management.
  2. Reports of corruption (Beatrix).
  3. Informal arrangements made with management; no formal notification of

some inspections nor findings.


8.13      Section 54s:


  • When visits UG are conducted, they are sometimes only done with

management and no union representation (Beatrix).

  • No follow-up or oversight by DMR post-section 54 upliftment; Health and

Safety Committee not consulted.

  • Partial upliftment (s54s) are problematic (Driefontein and Kloof):
  • FTHSRs and Health and Safety Committee not made aware of full

meaning of partial upliftment nor are they consulted.

When period expires for s54, the issuing inspector (or indeed any inspector) does not visit to check and confirm health and safety conditions.

  • Management pressurizes and manipulates the FTHSRs to sign the

upliftment notice to get the mine section opened again.


  1. Lack of competency and trust; complaints from employees are not taken seriously (or this is not evident); and where management is not respecting integrity of the scene of an accident, the DMR does not investigate such contravention (i.e. establishing whether evidence was tampered with).


  1. Section 60 and 65: punitive approach taken to MHSA Inquiries (and some s60

Investigations) instead of an exercise to establish the root cause(s) of a fatal accident or incident. Section 72 Reports: pursuant to s60 Investigations and s65 Inquiries, should be the Report from the Presiding Officer of the evidence forthcoming and to have this evidence used for research in preventative measures and learning and, not least, to provide closure to the families of loved ones lost. Reports are numerous of such s72s not being available, especially to trade unions participating in the Inquiries, so that learnings may be fully digested and monitored.




A major concern is that the DMR was taken to court over issuance of s54s and this may have affected the DMRs confidence to issue needed s54s and to perform necessary inspections in order to play their oversight role (as per MHSA) and prevent injuries and deaths in mining. The timing is suspicious: we have a clear crisis after such drawback from the DMR regarding s54s. This is an important contribution to the storm.


  1. Change Management


  1. Change-over between Anglo American run operations to new Sibanye-Stillwater systems and management, but generally same employees in same workplaces on how this change-over affected health and safety systems and preventative elements need to be further investigated.
  2. Section 65 Inquiries have shown that many fatal accidents have, as contributory factors, poor line management and oversight management (many managers or supervisors are in acting roles and not fully appointed).


This element appears to be a major concern. It remains unclear how this has directly

affected the storm but remains a contributor, especially for the Rustenburg operations. It may indeed be of vital importance for the gold operations.


  1. Recommendations:


  1. Some of the elements above do require further research but we again emphasize that such research and interrogation of the results will benefit the SAMI in the long run, especially in understanding how to prevent fatal disasters in future and speedily move towards Zero Harm.


  1. At the very least, we see a need for the review of the Guideline for a Mandatory Code of Practice for the Right to refuse dangerous work and leave dangerous working places, considering this particular environment at Sibanye-Stillwater and the elements we have outlined above. We also believe a revival and better implementation of the Cultural Transformation Framework Pillars, as there is clearly a problem posed by the Sibanye-Stillwater context.



9.         Findings


The Committee made the following observations:

  • It is alleged that the mining laws have been scrupulously followed in the case of the application for a mining right at Palmietkuilen. Anglo American had a prospecting right over the area which it made over to Canyon Coal with the required permissions. The application for the mining right was accompanied by the required scoping reports and environmental impact assessment reports as well as the mine plans. An extensive programme of public consultation was carried out and is fully documented by material available on public internet web sites.
  • The DMR accepted the application in May 2017 but required an additional round of public consultation in 2018. This concluded with a public report in May 2018. The matter still has to be decided.
  • The Committee was pleased with the progress made on the erection of a memorial plaque at Kinross, however it felt that initial concerns regarding the prominence of the plaque have not been fully addressed.
  • The Committee noted the progress that has been made in improving the infrastructure in the grave site (Winkelhaak Cemetery Project), however it was also concerned about progress identifying the deceased and lack of deadlines on initiatives associated with the above issue.
  • The Committee noted that the State-owned Mining Company (African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation) was initially exempted from complying with the social and labour plan.
  • The environmental rehabilitation plan of the State Owned Mining Company is not clear.
  • There seems to be a declining trend in mine safety allegedly underpinned prevailing management culture, and structural shortage of manpower which disproportionately contributes to rising fatality rates especially in Gauteng.
  • The petitioners and environmental experts who met with the PCMR outlined many risks and negative impacts that could occur as a result of the mine. Farmers in the area explained their fears that their activities would be disrupted. Environmentalists and residents drew attention to the cumulative impacts of an additional mine in an area that is already scarred by past mining and is vulnerable to AMD pollution from several sources.
  • The applicants for the mine told the Committee that all water used in processing the coal would be recycled internally and no water contaminated by their activities will be released from the mine site. Canyon Coal has other mines that operate in areas where they have farmers (including poultry farmers) as neighbours without problems. Land disturbed by mining will be continuously rehabilitated and returned to agricultural uses. 320 direct new jobs will be created by the mine.
  • The Gauteng Province did not respond to formal requests from Parliament to meet the Committee. Farmers at the meeting with Petitioners said that more than 320 jobs could be created from agriculture and agricultural processing if the province, the Agricultural Research Council and the Technology Innovation Agency gave support to the Agricultural Hub in the Lesedi Local Municipality.
  • The working relationship between Mine Health and Safety Council and the Unions is not optimal in terms of addressing root causes of safety lapses in the mines.
  • There is a possibility that the Section 54 judgement against the DMR might have affected its ability to exercise appropriate oversight over safety compliance by mining companies.


10.        Recommendations by the Committee


The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources having heard evidence from all stakeholders listed above recommends the following:


  • The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs and the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture should advise the National Assembly on whether the mining laws, as implemented by the DMR, are resulting in unacceptable environmental effects or are impacting negatively on food security.
  • The PCMR should invite the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture to participate in a joint meeting to discuss the trade-offs between using high potential agricultural land for agriculture or mining.
  • The Department of Mineral Resources should explain why its inspectorate in Mpumalanga has so increased its inspections of the Leeupan Mine since 2016 and what impact this has had on the inspection programmes for other mines in the Province.
  • Government should clarify its intentions regarding the state mining company, giver the 8-year delay in implementing the Cabinet decision in this regard.
  • DMR should report on the previous Committee recommendations that CSIR, CGS, MINTEK and MHSC must commission a study on seismic events.
  • The working committee should have binding deadlines on the resolutions of outstanding issues pertaining to the identification of the deceased.
  • The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) must ensure that the company fulfil its social and labour obligations in an exemplary manner.
  • The DMR must ensure that the environmental rehabilitation plan of the State Owned Mining Company is clear and fully complied with and communicated to Parliament accordingly.
  • Mine Health and Safety Council should work with the Unions to refine the submission and identify gaps that need to be remedied through regulations of DMR and laws of Parliament.
  • DMR should evaluate the impact of the recent Section 54 judgements on the ability of inspectors to exercise their oversight role effectively.
  • The Organised labour should submit a comprehensive report outlining issues of Mine Health and Safety by 01 September 2018.


11.        Acknowledgements

The Committee would like to thank the mining companies, DMR officials and stakeholders who participated in the oversight programme. In particular, it records its thanks to Mr Philip De Jager and Mrs Ann de Jager of Springs who organised the meeting with the petitioners and provided the venue for the event.

Report to be considered.



No related documents