SA’s mining industry is heading for the deadliest year since 2012 after six people died in an underground fire at Palabora Mining copper operation. Sunday’s accident brings the industry’s total to at least 54 and is the second-worst incident in 2018 after seven people died at a Sibanye Gold mine when an earth tremor caused a rockfall. The latest incident will be investigated by the Department of Mineral Resources, Minister Gwede Mantashe said. “These deaths add to an already high number of lost lives in the industry since the beginning of the year,” Mantashe said in an e-mailed statement. South African mining fatalities increased in 2017 for the first time in a decade. Less than seven months into 2018, the industry is on pace for the most deaths since the 112 in 2012. While the toll is still far below the 553 recorded in 1995, the trend poses questions about the future of mining in SA, as workers follow depleting orebodies deeper in a country mined commercially for over a century. A...

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