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While policy uncertainty was a recurring theme at this year's Mining Indaba, the most practical concern raised by mining houses was what some see as the government's sledgehammer approach to safety stoppages, which have led to falling production numbers. The standoff over stoppages ordered by inspectors, who in some cases conduct weekly checks, has added to tension between the industry, which hopes to benefit from rising commodity prices, and the Department of Mineral Resources. Section 54 safety stoppages began in 2008, when about 200 miners died. South African mines are among the deepest and most dangerous in the world and have a chequered safety history. Before 1994, the industry reported about 500 fatalities annually. Last year, the Chamber of Mines reported 73 deaths, down from 77 in 2015. "We have no issues with section 54s; the issue comes around proportionality and uniformity of application; that's where the regulator and the industry have to find common ground," AngloGold C...

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