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South Africa: 4 miners die at Impala Platinum mine - unions & NGOs urge better safety measures by mining firms

Four miners were killed in an underground fire at Impala Platinum mine, near Rustenburg in South Africa. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), and the Bench Marks Foundation among others, have expressed concern over the company's health and safety standards at the mine, arguing that the deaths could have been avoided. Components related to this story, including a statement by the company, are below:

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Article
4 February 2016

Four miners killed in an underground fire at Impala Platinum mine

Author: News24 (South Africa)

"Four killed in Rustenburg platinum mine fire", 24 Jan 2016

Four miners...died in an underground fire in a platinum mine near Rustenburg, the Impala group said in a statement...'The four employees were overcome by fumes while they were trying to find their way to safety,' Impala said...Fourteen gold miners died at the start of 2014 in an explosion and in 2009 nine workers at a platinum mine were crushed by falling rocks.

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Article
4 February 2016

Impala Platinum mine deaths a tragedy, says Bench Marks Foundation

Author: Bench Marks Foundation (South Africa)

"Media statement by the Bench Marks Foundation: Impala Deaths a Tragedy", 26 Jan 2016

The death of four mine workers at Impala Platinum’s Shaft 14 mine in Rustenburg, South Africa on Friday, 22 January 2016 is a terrible tragedy, says The Bench Marks Foundation...According to the [Foundation], workers health and safety is not improving because of the limp-wristed response by government to issues plaguing the mining industry which, according to the organisation, is informed by the presence of mining industry interests in the government and the ruling party... The Foundation believes that this it is clearly a matter of profits trumping human rights.

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Article
4 February 2016

Mineworkers’ union calls on mining firms to invest in protecting lives of workers rather than focusing on greater profits

Author: National Union of Mineworkers, in Political Analysis South Africa

"Mine deaths skyrocket at Impala Platinum’s Mine in Rustenburg", 24 Jan 2016

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) [has said in a statement it] is deeply worried and saddened that four mineworkers lost their lives at Impala Platinum’s mine in Rustenburg when a fire broke out underground during a shift...There were also two fatalities at the same shaft in December 2015, [said NUM]...'We call upon the mining companies to invest more money in protecting the lives of workers than focusing more on profits. Mineworkers cannot be sacrificed for profits'...[NUM statement said]...We call on the DMR inspectorate and Minister Mosebenzi Zwane to hold the industry fully accountable for its failures and adopt a no-nonsense approach when it comes to mine deaths.

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Item
25 January 2016

Fire at Impala Rustenburg 14 Shaft

Author: Impala Platinum

Implats regrets to announce that four employees have lost their lives following a fire, which occurred underground at Impala Rustenburg’s 14 Shaft on 22 January 2016. The fire was detected during the night shift of Friday, 22 January 2016, employees were immediately stopped from proceeding underground and the teams working underground were evacuated... However, four employees were reported missing and...[their] bodies...were discovered...[on] Saturday, 23 January... The four employees were overcome by fumes while they were trying to find their way to safety... The Minister of Mineral Resources, the Honourable Mr Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane...said, “We need to navigate our way through this tragedy and ‘take hands’ in solving the issue without blame in an honest way to avoid similar incidents”.

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