Reviving South Africa's gold industry means getting mine workers off their knees

Section:

By Kevin Crowley
Bloomberg News
Thursday, March 23, 2017

During his early years as a miner in South Africa, Joas Mahanuque spent six hours a day on his knees drilling for Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. The dust-filled tunnels half a mile underground were too low for him to stand, and temperatures reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).

Today he has essentially the same job 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) beneath the surface for Gold Fields Ltd. But unlike most of the precious-metals miners in the country, Mahanuque sits comfortably atop a new 7-ton vehicle, using a joystick to control an 8-foot drill as ventilated air blows behind him. ...

If only it was that easy for the rest of the once dominant South African gold industry. After more than a century as the world’s top producer, the country has slipped to No. 7 over the past decade. Mines are deep, labor intensive and are being developed with mostly drill-and-blast methods little changed since the 1950s, which means costs have soared and output has dropped. ...

... For the remainder of the report:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-23/reviving-king-of-gold...



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