7/18/2022 3:23:00 PM

Improving the mining environment

The mining industry is a vast contributor to the South African economy.  

In 2019 this sector generated R527, 5 billion in total sales. This attests its position as one of the most essential and historically influential industries in South Africa.

Its significance supersedes economic contribution; the mining sector is an age-old industry that continues to contribute to the development of society. 

This sector is the foundation of civilization; numerous tech developments depend on the mining industry for raw materials. Mines also provide the materials needed for building, machinery, and the generation of electricity, among many other goods and services that we need and use daily.

While enjoying the privileges that the mining industry has to offer, we neglect to think about the miners. The workers who find and excavate the raw materials necessary to manufacture the products we depend on, sometimes at considerable health and safety risks.

In 2020, the South African mining sector had 451,427 employees. A significant portion of this sum risked harsh conditions synonymous with mining environments. The most common risks miners faced include lung damage, hearing damage and exposure to radioactive materials. The risks taken by miners are the underlying cost of the conveniences the mining industry provides to the development of the economy.

It is commendable that most mines take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their employees. These life-saving improvements are not in vain, but more can be done to improve conditions in the mining environment. 

In 2019, 51 fatalities were reported, compared with 81 in 2018 – translating to a 37% improvement in the number of fatalities year on year. This is the lowest number of fatalities on record,” according to mineral, health and safety statistics released last year by the department of mineral resources and energy.”

Here are some tips on how mines can be made safer:

  • Thorough planning - Make evaluations of the methods you intend to use.
  • Regular Inspection - Constantly assess the safety standard of the environment and the equipment.
  • Use PPEs - It may not be fashionable, but Protective Personal gear can save lives.
  • Improve visibility - Clear view of the surroundings will help avoid accidents.
  • Clear the air - minimize dust in the air by using vacuum devices, screens, transfer shoots and wet fan scrubbers.

Sanitech is proud to have an opportunity to also contribute to the betterment of the mining environment. Through our New Improved Concept (NIC) toilets and our Khusela Dry Sanitation Units, Sanitech can considerably improve sanitary conditions at mines.

Most mines in South Africa use the open-type drum toilet, while others still use pit latrines. These have several health implications and degrade the dignity of users and those cleaning the drums. Waste that accumulates inside the drum is visible, and the fumes spread.

The NIC toilet uses Nanotechnology to prevent debris from sticking to the bowl and is lockable. Nanotechnologies, provides for a more hygienic, dignified, and secure solution for the miners underground. Sanitech's Khusela Dry Sanitation Unit is a "retro-fit" improvement replacing traditional open-pit latrines. Pit latrines have health and safety shortfalls, servicing problems and contaminate the environment. These two options are the sure answer to the problem of ablution.

New Improved Concept Toilet
Khusela Dry Sanitation Unit
Easily transportable 
Continued use of pit latrine
Tamper proof service hatch
No faecal exposure
No faecal exposure

It is discomfiting that in some cases, an industry that has been so instrumental to our economy and our overall development continues to function whilst utilising unsanitary ablution facilities. 

The Sanitech NIC toilets and the Khusela Dry Sanitation Unit allow mining companies to restore the dignity of their employees and an ideal opportunity to show employees that they are appreciated.