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Deeper Gets Deadlier in South Africa’s Aging Gold Mines

  • Fatalities up 20%, first rise since 2008, most in two decades
  • Mine shutdowns ruffle industry that sees regulator overreach
Photographer: Themba Hadebe/AP Photo
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Finding minerals in South Africa after more than a century of digging often means going deeper than ever before. Now, it’s also becoming deadlier.

In a country that remains one of the biggest producers of gold, platinum and diamonds, the toll of 60 mining deaths this year through August was 20 percent higher than the same period in 2015, according to the Chamber of Mines, an industry group. The annual tally is heading for its first increase in nine years and the biggest in at least two decades, escalating concerns among both workers and mining executives.