The Minerals Council South Africa also acknowledged the looming threat of a third wave of COVID-19 cases, expected after the Easter travel period, hot on the heels of the "frighteningly dramatic" second wave experienced at the start of this year.
CEO Roger Baxter said sadly, eight industry employees had succumbed to accident-related injuries by the end of February.
"We are going to have to work very hard to reverse the deterioration in the improving trend we saw in 2019," he said in the council's latest quarterly update.
The sector had reported 51 mining fatalities in 2019, its lowest on record.
Third wave warning
Baxter also said the industry must heed warnings of a further surge COVID-19 infections and pointed to the dreadful impact of the recent second wave on the industry and South Africa.
He said the industry had experienced seven COVID-19 deaths during December prior to the second wave but this grew to 155 deaths in the first two months of this year.
The surge prompted the council to resume daily COVID-19 updates, which yesterday put the total number of virus-related deaths at 367.
"With experts predicting a third wave threatened to begin after Easter, it must be a warning to all of us to remain as conscientious as ever about the preventative measures we need to continue to take - wear masks, sanitise, wash hands, and maintain social distancing," he said.
"Where we have any capacity to influence conditions of travel, the minerals council will be doing its utmost."
The council was working with unions and the government to assist with a vaccine roll-out, although the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was paused after trial data showed it offered limited protection against mild and moderate disease caused by a virus variant.
South Africa continues to have the 16th highest number of COVID-19 cases, with more than 1.5 million recorded and 51,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University today.
The global number of cases is nearing 118 million and the death toll is more than 2.6 million.