Zimbabwe Mining Safety Audits Intensify

World News

by Victor Adetimilehin

In an active move to enhance safety in the mining sector, Zimbabwe’s Chamber of Mines has announced an upsurge in safety audits. This initiative, led by the Safety, Health, and Environment (SHE) committee, aims to significantly reduce the number of mining accidents, which have seen a troubling rise recently.


From January to July 2023, the mining industry in Zimbabwe reported 110 fatal accidents, a slight increase from 106 in the previous year. These accidents resulted in 120 fatalities, with a staggering 92% occurring underground. Such figures highlight the urgent need for more rigorous safety measures.


During the recent Association of Mine Managers of Zimbabwe (AMMZ) conference in Victoria Falls, Butholezwe Dube, a representative of the Chamber’s SHE committee, outlined several priority areas to tackle this issue. These include fostering leadership for sustainable resource stewardship, addressing biodiversity and climate change, and enhancing capacity and competency through targeted training.


Dube emphasized the committee’s collaboration with various regulatory bodies, including the Environment Management Agency and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, to ensure compliance across the industry. He also noted the resumption of SHE audits following the lifting of restrictions, with 17 companies and four smelting and processing facilities participating in the recent audits conducted in May 2023.


The committee’s findings revealed that large-scale operations contributed 18% to the total accidents reported, while illegal mining operations and the small-scale mining industry contributed 22% and 60%, respectively. This distribution underscores the need for focused safety measures, particularly in smaller and informal mining operations.


Notably, two mines, Ngwarati and Mupfuti, stood out for their exceptional safety records, with Mupfuti Mine scoring a remarkable 97% on the audit checklist. Dube highlighted the shift in approach from competition to a continual improvement program, aiming to encourage mines to surpass their previous safety performances rather than competing against each other.


Moreover, the SHE committee is pioneering the “Mine Rescue Competition” to enhance emergency preparedness and safety. The most recent competition, held at Mimosa Mine, showcased outstanding performances with Mimosa and Blanket Mines triumphing in their respective categories.


First aid remains a crucial aspect of the committee’s agenda, with recent competitions demonstrating the importance of quality on-site treatment for injured employees. The committee aims to further extend the reach of these initiatives by inviting regional countries to participate, promoting the “Zero Harm” goal in the industry.


As the mining sector in Zimbabwe strives to improve safety standards, these efforts signal a promising future where mining accidents could be significantly reduced, ensuring the well-being of miners and the surrounding communities.


Source: [Newsday Zimbabwe]


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