Platinum mine halts operations after blast death

Image courtesy Chance Agrella/

Image courtesy Chance Agrella/

Atlatsa Resources Corporation on Wednesday said operations at a section of its Bokoni Platinum mine were suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into the death of a Mosotsi resident.

Atlatsa said operations at the Klipfontein opencast mine were suspended until the death of Bernard Moropane was investigated.

“Safety of our employees and community members remains of paramount importance to our operations and mine management is working closely with the SAPS, the department of mineral resources and other authorities involved in the investigation of the fatality,” Atlatsa’s CEO Harold Motaung said.

Motaung said the company and the board sent their condolences to Moropane’s family and friends.

On Monday, Limpopo police said the house of a chieftain was set alight and Bokoni Platinum mine equipment destroyed outside Burgersfort.

“The double-storey house was burnt last night, but not the whole house. However, the estimated damage is R500,000,” Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said at the time.

“Mining equipment was also burnt, including trucks and pick-up trucks. The equipment was stored at the house. No arrests have been made.”

He said police were investigating cases of public violence and malicious damage to property.

SABC news reported that the chieftain had authorised mine blasting in the area, which killed a man doing welding work in the Masonti Ga-Selepe village.

According to the report, residents became upset and decided to take the law into their own hands.

On Wednesday, Motaung said the company regretted that after the “fatal injury” members of the community set fire to community and contractor mining property and equipment that caused “significant” damage.

He said the SA Police Service was investigating.

“The Klipfontein opencast mine comprises approximately 20 percent of Bokoni’s total production and the mine has adequate stockpile for processing whilst the opencast operation remains suspended,” he said.

Meanwhile, the portfolio committee on mineral resources said it noted with concern the blast incident at the mine.

It said it was concerned about the violent protests by the Ga-Monotwane and Ga-Selepe communities and said it “could divert attention from their genuine concerns”.

Committee chairman Sahlulele Luzipo said the committee would investigate the manner in which a consultation process was conducted before permission was granted to carry out the blast operation.

“While we appeal for calm among community members, we are also looking at possibilities of visiting the mining area in order to gain understanding of the situation,” said Luzipo.

– Sapa


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