Hlobane, 12 September 1983
Today, the Chamber of Mines and our country’s coal industry will remember the 64 miners who lost their lives in a methane explosion at the Hlobane colliery near the town of Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal. The fiery methane gas explosion that tore through the mine was South Africa’s second most deadly colliery disaster.
Official investigations indicated that the explosion had been caused by a spark from a mining tool that ignited a large pocket of gas.
The likelihood of a repeat of the colliery’s methane explosion is remote today. New gas-detection equipment has been developed and employed widely throughout South Africa’s mines; mining tools are spark- and fire-proofed; miners cannot return to workplaces that have not been made safe; modern ventilation systems ensure that all noxious gases and dust are evacuated from mine workings; and greater awareness of safety is instilled in the minds of all miners as they go to their workplaces.
The aim of the Chamber and its members is that South Africa’s mines shall be free of fatalities and accidents.
In memory of the 64 men who perished at Hlobane in 1983, let us rededicate ourselves to the highest standards of safety on our mines.