South Africa's top mining execs push for higher safety standards

South Africa’s Chamber of Mines said Friday it will set up a special CEO “elimination of fatalities team” in an effort to bring down the number of deaths at the local mines.

According to BusinessLive, the team will be led by AngloGold Ashanti CEO, and Chamber of Mines vice-president, Mark Cutifani. The objective is to share experiences and develop means of solving key challenges in mine safety.

So far 63 miners have died in the country’s mines this year, a number that the Chamber of Mines CEO, Bheki Sibiya, considers “unacceptably high.”

“We are extremely grateful that the CEOs have taken this initiative as we believe that safety awareness and initiatives related to it need to be led from the top,” Sibiya was quoted saying.

The country’s deputy mines minister, Godfrey Oliphant, threatened Tuesday to increase sanctions for mines with poor health and safety rules.

Speaking at the memorial service for five Gold Field’s miners, who died just over a week ago in a fire at the company's operations west of Johannesburg, Oliphant said the penalties would include closures, Reuters reported.