Mining legislation ostracises communities: Expert

Concerns around mineworkers’ health and safety have been a thorny point at the African Mining Indaba.
Mining Affected Communities United in Action Representative Christopher Rutledge has criticised current mining legislation for excluding mining communities.

Thursday marks the 4th and last day of the Investing in African Mining Indaba taking place in Cape Town.

While delegates have been discussing the impact of power shortages, safety and climate change on mining, other stakeholders such as labour and communities are still battling with challenges in the sector.

Another issue is that of tensions between mining communities and companies over mining rights and inclusive participation.

Rutledge says current mining legislation does nothing to systemically address the needs and concerns of mining communities.

“Mining communities are allocated 0.9% of the total revenue that is generated in the sector. Of the 0.9%, 70% of that is going missing; communities cannot account for it…those in power have systematically through legislation, power influence and power broking, excluded the voice of communities and we are saying that is enough.”

Deaths in the mining sector

Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) doesn’t believe that there has been a significant reduction in the number of fatalities of mineworkers.

This follows Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe telling delegates at the Indaba that 51 mineworkers died last year compared to 81 recorded in the previous year.

President of the National Union of Mineworkers Joseph Montisetse says mining companies often talk “good language” about health and safety, but never implement these effectively.

Montisetse also cited concerns around current mining legislation which he says does not allow for workers to withdraw from any mining activities if they feel that their health and safety could be at risk.