From the Councils Pen….

With SACEA’s 40th Anniversary this year we as South Africans will also celebrate 25 years of Democracy and all South African Citizens 18 years and older will have the opportunity on 8 May 2019 to place their cross next to the Political Party they believe will take South Africa to the levels it deserves to be and to enable South Africa to compete on all levels with the rest of the major countries in the world. As stipulated previously by SACEA President on the first Newsletter for the year it is very important to get Voters to Vote. 71% is simply not good enough and all leaders in the country must contribute towards motivating people to vote.

SACEA association has a big role to play in the Coal Mining Sector and are currently adding a lot of value to keep the Coal Mining Sector economic viable and at the same time create a safe working environment and culture among our employees through all relevant Stakeholders and Forums with our strive to Zero Harm. This can only happen by sharing Leading practices with each other and with the correct leadership style which must start from the Top structures. Therefore, SACEA commit to play a big part in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (in the South African Mining industry in support of our guest to achieve ZERO Harm.

South Africa along with most parts of Africa, did not actively participate in either the First Industrial Revolution (steam power) or the Second Industrial Revolution (electrical power). As a result we are 60 years lagging as compared to the developed world. The continent was also unable to fully participate in the Third Industrial Revolution (electric automation), which put us back a further 20 years.

The President of South Africa and the Minister of Mineral Resources are in support of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Digitization and the Internet of Things – IoT), and South Africa needs to participate in it as early as possible to enjoy its benefits rather than becoming end users of systems already created.

The CEO of the MHSC Mr Thabo Dube also stated that the MHSC will continue to engage with mining companies in 2019 and beyond to discuss strategies to prevent fatalities, injuries and disease in the local mining industry of which he is in support of the benefits that will be offered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IoT). A workshop was also held on 21 February hosted by Mr Thabo Dube to discuss the way forward on important points to consider while working towards implementation.

The MHSC also hosted a World TB Commemoration Day on the 4th April at Matla Coal Sports field to address the challenges faced by the Mining Industry against the fight to end TB, which was well supported by all Mining houses.

If we look back at the Safety record for the Mining Industry year to date, we are standing currently at 12 fatalities versus the 24 for last year at the same time. The Coal Industry had one fatality versus 4 last year at the same time. This is indeed a good improvement, but a lot of work lies ahead to ensure we build on this performance. What is concerning is that we had only had a 13% improvement on machinery related injuries and 1% improvement on transportation related injuries in the Mining Industry while the Coal industry had a 71% reduction in machinery related injuries and 500% increase in transportation. This being the reason why the DMR will focus very high on Traffic Management Plans to be in place on all mines during this year. Also, a reminder that PDS installment on all TMM equipment according to your Risk rating level for each TMM needs to be in place by end December 2019.  All requests from the Minerals Council of South Africa (CM &EE) to get extension until December 2020 has not yet been approved by the DMR.  

SACEA had a very successful first Northern regional Meeting on 28 March which was held at Matla Club which was attended by approximately 35 people. The Council members also stated that they will investigate upcoming events with DMR on 6 May 2019 to establish a date for a meeting between DMR and Colliery Engineers. The DMR has indicated to us that they are concerned about the following events that occurred at our mines during the first 4 months of the year.

  • They have a concern that Engineers in training do not get access and exposure to mine safety documents in terms of COP’s, Risk assessments, Procedures etc.
  • People come into mines unauthorized to get training on TMM especially when Supervision is limited
  • The early investigation findings of the Klipfontein fatality showed that Operators trained other employees without the required process of the mine to be followed
  • The Gloria incident showed out how unprepared we are in the Mining Industry to handle a major catastrophe

The Coalsafe event hosted by SACMA during March was very successful where they had 1040 people attended from the various Mining houses. The forthcoming SACEA Technical Symposium will be held on 6 June 2019 and will be held at the Portuguese Hall in Witbank. This is SACEA’s prestige event for the year and all plans are to get at least 150 people to attend the symposium. Great effort will be to attract not only Engineers but also members from other disciplines on the mine to attend this Technical Symposium. The presentations will be based on our Strategy for 2019 focusing on Productivity, Leading Practices and Digitization.

Engineers also need to take note that comments are awaited by the CM&EE on the new SANS standard SANS1589 part 3 on braking test requirements for TMM. On Flameproof changes that is applicable to fiery mines take note of proposed changes to SANS 10086/1/2/3 especially part 2.

Lastly, we are glad to hear that the Technical Director position within the DMR has been filled with Mr. Funwell Nkuna which was appointed last month with the retirement of Anthony Coutinho last year.

Congratulations to Schalk van Wyk SACEA Council member and previous SACEA President for his appointment as Chairman of the Mineral Council of SA (CM&EE). We wish you all of the best with this important task and is sure you will add a lot of value to the Mining Industry.