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ASA's Zero Harm Strategy behind 3 million fatality-free shifts

(People's Daily Online)  Zhang Jiexian  2014-07-03 23:07


(photo by People's Daily Online/ Zhang Jiexian)

Burgersfort, July 3 (People's Daily Online) —Recently, Dilokong Chrome Mine of ASA Metals has achieved 3 million fatality-free shifts, as the fourth enterprise and the first Chinese enterprise in South Africa to get this title.

As a result of fire, gas outburst, gas explosion, coal dust explosion, flooding accident and mine roof collapse, mining mishaps cause thousands of deaths every year.

The underground operations of the entire process is the most dangerous, where mineworkers break the roof and support it as they go along. “It’s likely to collapse if you don’t do it correctly,” said Hardley Ramokgadi, the mine manager of ASA. “But we have systems good enough in place to avoid it.”

ASA has 2300 employees in total, with half of them working underground. A supervising team of about 80 people ensures they do it correctly by monitoring the whole process 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ”If you can’t do it safely, then you don’t do it, or you find means to do it safely,” said Ramokgadi.

(photo by People's Daily Online/ Zhang Jiexian)

ASA has learnt from the past accidents, which put them in a situation where they continuously improve their system. ASA arrange their employees, from the top to the bottom, to receive focused safety training.

The company's performance regarding SHEQ (safety, health, environment and quality) has experienced a paradigm shift in terms of risk management – from being labeled the worst mine in the Limpopo province to one of the best today.

(photo by People's Daily Online/ Zhang Jiexian)

South Africa has almost 80% of the world's known chromite resources, and yet Dilokong Chrome Mine was not initially established with the express intent of exploiting this resource. It was established in 1976 as a government training mine. The facility was basically set up to train people in this rural and underprivileged community so that they could develop expertise in mining – skills that could then be used elsewhere.

The next big change came in February 1997 with the involvement of Sinosteel, a Chinese state-owned firm, which entered into an agreement with Limpopo Economic Development Enterprise, a South African state-owned company.

The Chinese government and the South African government basically got together to form ASA Metals – the first joint venture of its kind between these two governments.

Xuekun Sun, official from the China Embassy in SA, visited the plant, and paid it a high compliment. “I’m not an expert at mining. But I’m fully aware of the significance of safe, responsible mining and production.”

He also quoted the core values of ASA at the celebration in July “Work safe. Make money. Have fun.”

(photo by People's Daily Online/ Zhang Jiexian)

ASA develops the image of Marula tree as a symbol of their core value, among which “zero harm” takes the priority, as one of a significant “roots” of the big “tree”, together with “honesty”, “team work”, “care” and “ownership”. And every single people around the “tree” should benefits from the “fruits” and the “shades”.

“We know that our employees are our most valuable assets, whom we must take care of in our operations,” said Fengzhi Nan, the chairman of ASA. “We care about the quality of our people. We continuously develop our people in all areas, providing a healthy working environment for all our workers. We take responsibility for our safety production. We live and work at all times without endangering ourselves, without endangering our environment and all others around us.”

(photo by People's Daily Online/ Zhang Jiexian)

Besides safety, ASA covers groundwater monitoring, dust fallout monitoring, and dispersion modeling as well, just to ensure the production is environmental-friendly. Meanwhile, in order to improve efficiency, they are applying much more high technology to their work.

ASA boasts mining rights for more than 50 million tons of thus far unexploited chromite resources – enough reserves for 60 years. Nowadays, Dilokong Chrome Mine produces 366 thousand tons of chromite as feed to the furnaces, which is mainly made into stainless steel, and exported to China, Japan, Europe and other areas.