From the Councils Pen….

This year we are launching a new initiative to interact and be in contact with all our members on a monthly basis. This is the first Edition in the series for this year direct from our president himself. ENJOY!

This year marks 40th anniversary of SACEA and I am positive that our organization will put its stamp on coal mining industry through a well planned and executed strategy. This year will be crucial to our young democracy as we are going to be voting on the 8th of May 2019. It is also worth noting that it will be our sixth election on the eve of 25th anniversary of South African democracy. Please urge everyone especially young people and first time voters to participate and make their mark.

This past year we saw a regression in the number of fatalities in the mining industry, however sadly 81 of our mining colleagues still lost their lives, 9 of which are from the coal mining industry. Three major events in the industry contributed to the loss of 18 lives this past year, the seismic event at Driefontein Gold Mine, heat exhaustion incident at Kloof Gold Mine and the conveyor belt fire at the Phalaborwa Copper Mine. We cannot ignore these lives that we have lost in the industry, and a moment of silence should be held to honour them.

Coming closer to home in 2019 the coal mining industry had a clean first two months of the year with no lives lost. We cannot however ignore the Gloria Mine tragedy, there are important lessons to be taken away from this incident. Maintaining a safe environment at any operation is difficult and complex but should never be ignored, overlooked or underestimated. Caring for people community and environment cannot be excluded when maintaining a safe environment. This incident also shows us the potential of collaboration between different mining companies in the hour of need. A word of thanks must be given to our MRS, Matla Coal Mine and Sasol Mining colleagues for their professionalism and dedication.

(At the time the article was written the fatality at Klipfontein Colliery had not occurred. This is unfortunately a tragic event and again emphasises the continual focus and effort that is required for the industry to move towards zero harm.)

As an organization we have started this year of well, having completed a strategy session which created the roadmap for our activities in 2019 setting us up for a successful year. Our communication strategy should allow us to reach greater spectrum of engineering personnel employed in coal mining industry. Our collaboration with DMR and participation in Tripartite forums will form part of the core of SACEA activities. We will focus on reaching out to our small mine colleagues through regional meetings, safety workshops and various users groups meetings. This is with the intention of increasing our membership base and ensure best practice sharing throughout the mining industry. We have an exciting calendar ahead and I would like to urge every SACEA member to participate in this year’s activities. The last weekend in September we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary as an association during the presidential function, please make a note in your diaries to join us for the festivities.  As part of our strategy we have 3 main themes that we will follow this year, these are tabulated in the slide below:

We are highly energised and excited for this new year. Wishing you safe tonnes of coal and let us repeat the safety record of first two months for the remainder of 2019.

Marcin Hyra

SACEA President 2019