Mine deaths in South Africa last year fell by nearly a quarter compared with the previous year, although the fatality rates are still high compared to industrialised countries.
Data from the Department of Mineral Resources showed that 128 miners died last year, compared to 168 in 2009.
The gold sector had the highest number of deaths at 63.
A total of 3 019 miners suffered injuries last year, compared to 3 673 the previous year.
South Africa, which has the world’s deepest gold mines, has a dire safety record compared to the industrialised world and the fatalities have led to temporary closure of mines, denting output.
New legislation in the last 16 years has increased miners’ rights but reducing deaths has been gradual because of the depth of the mines and the poorly educated workforce.
South African companies have vowed to get their safety performance on a par with countries such as Australia or the United States by 2013.