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INTERVIEW

Safety first at Venetia Mine Gerrie Nortje, General Manager at Venetia Mine, outlines all the steps that are taken to keep miners as safe as possible. What are the key principles behind keeping a mineoperation safe?

Gerrie Nortje, General Manager at Venetia Mine

All mines should be constructed and operated as per the design to eliminate and, where not possible, mitigate risk in every part of the process. Quantifying the risks to which our employees and communities are exposed forms a key pillar in Safety Management. Engineering controls remain the most effective and as a result are the highest on the hierarchy of controls. At De Beers and Venetia Mine, we pride ourselves in our first value, which is “Putting Safety First”. This means that all our employees and contractors are empowered to work safely, stop unsafe work, withdraw from an unsafe area and escalate any unsafe conditions. This is an expectation from every employee. The safety culture and one of transparency and collaboration is absolutely critical. Not tolerating risk and being unconditional about safety every single day remains paramount in succeeding. Fatigue management is also important. What programmes are in place to promote safety?

BIOGRAPHY Gerrie Nortje began his career with Anglo American in 1997 as a bursar studying Mining Engineering. On completion of his degree, he worked at various Anglo American Thermal Coal operations before becoming Operations Manager at Xstrata. He re-joined Anglo American as a Principal Mining Engineer and transitioned into a Lead Open Pit Mining role during 2014 as a member of the Technical and Sustainability team. At head office he was involved with a variety of projects across the group’s business units. LIMPOPO BUSINESS 2019/20

We have in excess of 20 workstreams focusing on elimination of fatalities. Controls keep people safe and critical controls keep people alive. We are improving all our critical controls and verifications. What are some of your achievements in tackling safety? Before we talk about successes, we should first reflect on the tragic death of Maggie Semata on 25 March 2018 in the ore-processing plant at Venetia. The loss was devastating for Maggie’s family, everyone at Venetia Mine, De Beers Group and Anglo American. I have taken a stance that no Venetian will lose his or her life ever again. Is Zero Harm achievable? There is no doubt that Zero Harm is achievable. Some departments at Venetia have never suffered an injury in 27 years since commencement of operations. Will mechanisation assist in advancing safety? Removing employees from harm’s way will remain one of the most effective measures, so yes it will. Mechanisation and automation play a critical role in keeping our employees safe. It also provides opportunities for employees to develop other skill sets.

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Profile for Global Africa Network

Limpopo Business 2019/20 edition  

The 2019/20 edition of Limpopo Business is the 11th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2007, has establis...

Limpopo Business 2019/20 edition  

The 2019/20 edition of Limpopo Business is the 11th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2007, has establis...