Gold News

Production affected at South African gold mines as deaths increase

Unions have claimed this week that production at top gold mining companies in South Africa is being affected by the increasing number of worker deaths this year.

There have been a total of 130 deaths recorded so far in 2008 caused by rockfalls, explosions or earth tremors, with five miners being killed last week alone.

The trend appears to be on the rise after 200 deaths occurred in 2006 and 221 were recorded last year - something which is concerning the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

President Senzeni Zokwana said: "No question, these stoppages have affected production. We are well aware companies are not happy about this."

However, if production continues to be affected, anyone with a gold investment could benefit from the reduced supply and subsequent effect on the gold price.

This situation is particularly likely according to some officials, who say that the preliminary findings of a nationwide audit have revealed a "really worrying" level of safety compliance.

Thabo Gazi, who is head of the mine safety council at the Department of Minerals and Energy, added: "People are not adhering to safety standards. Skills and experience are also an issue."

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