International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) company members recorded 44 occupational deaths in 2020, according to its latest industry safety publication.
According to the Safety Performance: Benchmarking Progress of ICMM Company Members In 2020 report, this compares to 287 deaths in 2019, which included the 250 lives lost in the Brumadinho tailings dam collapse, and 50 deaths in 2018.
The report analyses fatalities based on the cause and provides safety performance metrics by county and company.
In 2020, 12 fatalities were caused by ‘fall of ground’ incidents while eight were related to mobile equipment and transportation.
Company member operations in South Africa had the highest fatality rate of 0.052, recording 22 fatalities from 422.1 million hours worked.
Operations in Indonesia recorded six fatalities and Brazil four, where 80.6 and 353.3 million hours were worked, respectively.
According to the publication’s figures, 12 members reported zero fatalities including Antofagasta Minerals, BHP, Hydro, JX Nippon, Minera San Cristobal, Minsur, MMG, Newcrest, Newmont, Rio Tinto, Sumitomo Metal Mining and Teck Resources.
ICMM chief executive officer Rohitesh Dhawan said the industry must do better.
“44 people lost their lives whilst at work in 2020 which is a stark reminder of the relentless efforts required to eliminate fatalities and achieve our goal of zero harm,” he said.
“Strong leadership, embedding a zero-fatalities mindset, knowing what the biggest risk are and putting in place effective management and controls are vital steps towards this goal.
“Our members are also focused on improving reporting of and learning from high potential incidents as a preventative tool to keep workers safe”.
According to the report, in 2020 there was a 2 per cent decrease in the total hours worked compared to 2019, and a 17 per cent increase in the number of incidents that resulted in a fatality.
There were three incidents which resulted in more than one fatality, which was half the number of multiple fatality incidents in 2019.
The report focuses on safety incidents rather than health-related impacts.
It does not contain data relating to the rate of Covid-19 infections within the ICMM membership.