Mobile equipment top cause of mining fatalities

Mobile mining equipment has been rated as the single highest cause of industry fatalities in 2018 as incidents of this seriousness fell for the second straight year.

Fifty fatalities were recorded among approximately a million workers and contractors last year, a decrease from 51 fatalities in 2017 and 63 fatalities in 2016.

Fifteen fatalities (30 per cent) were caused by transportation or mobile equipment in 2018, four higher than the 11 fatalities recorded in the previous year. This is followed by nine fatalities (18 per cent) caused by fall of ground in underground mines.

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) collected this data through its company members.

“ICMM and our company members are determined to eliminate fatalities from their operations. The single highest cause of deaths in 2018 was from mobile mining equipment, which is why we are exploring collision avoidance technology in our innovation for cleaner, safer vehicles program,” ICMM chief executive Tom Butler said.


The highest number of fatalities (14) occurred in South Africa, where 400 million hours were worked. Chile and Ghana reported six fatalities where respectively 281 and 51 million hours were worked.

ICMM’s safety report does not include fatalities from the Brumadinho tragedy, which occurred in January 2019.

Eleven of ICMM’s 27 company members reported zero fatalities in 2018 compared to eight in 2017. The 11 companies were Africa Rainbow Minerals, Barrick Gold, Freeport McMoRan, Goldcorp, JX Nippon, Minera San Cristóbal, Minsur, Mitsubishi Materials, Newcrest Mining, Orano, and Sumitomo.

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