Eighty-four miners were killed in South Africa in 2014, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on Friday.
“The breakdown of fatalities per commodity during the year 2014 is as follows: gold, 44; platinum, 15; coal, nine; and other mines, 16,” he told reporters in Pretoria.
Other mines included diamonds, chrome, copper, and iron ore.
A total of 93 miners died in 2013.
Seven have died since the beginning of this year.
The minister said the 2014 figures were the best ever recorded in the history of mining in South Africa. The industry had made steady progress in reducing fatalities.
The 2014 figure was an 86 percent drop from the 615 deaths recorded in 1993. Despite the improvement, the minister was concerned about the mineworkers who had already died in 2015.
“I want to convey my serious concern that we continue to experience loss of life in the sector,” Ramatlhodi said. “It is with deepest regret and sadness that so early in 2015, seven mine workers have already lost their lives.”
He said given the statistics, it appeared gold and platinum mines were the main contributors to accidents and fatalities.
“This is regrettable, as we believe that these mines should be at the forefront in terms of the appropriate systems and expertise to enhance health and safety.”
Workers’ health and safety was crucial to mining’s long-term sustainability, the minister said.
“Hence our steely resolve to implement enforcement measures in terms of the law.”