Any discussion on the topic of “zero harm” in mining must start with an acknowledgment that we are not there yet. The SA mining industry has a long and, in many respects, not very auspicious health and safety history. For most of the 20th century, about 800 people died in accidents every year. That is almost inconceivable today, but it is our legacy.

The number of deaths due to occupational health issues are more difficult to ascertain because many of these would have occurred well after the individuals had left the industry, but we can be sure that these deaths are substantial.

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