Gold Miner Ends Unsafe Practices After Mine Collapse

Metallon Corporation vows to restore formal mining operations at Redwing Mine in Zimbabwe

by Victor Adetimilehin

Zimbabwe’s largest gold producer, Metallon Corporation, has announced that it will end unsafe mining practices at its Redwing Mine following a shaft collapse that trapped 15 miners underground last week.


The company said it will re-establish formal mining operations at the mine, which has historically operated as a large-scale mine. The mine was placed under corporate rescue in 2020 and under the management of an administrator, who introduced artisanal mining on a wide scale.


The incident occurred in one of the artisanal mining near-surface pits, where underground pillars had been knocked down, rendering the mine a death trap. The miners managed to escape death ahead of their rescue, three days after the incident.


A Promising Step for Gold Mining in Zimbabwe

Metallon Corporation is the owner of four gold mines in Zimbabwe: Redwing Mine, How Mine, Mazowe Mine and Shamva Mine. The company has been operating in the country since 2002 and has contributed significantly to the gold output of Zimbabwe.


According to the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, the country produced 19 tonnes of gold in 2020, down from 27 tonnes in 2019, due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges. Gold is Zimbabwe’s largest foreign currency earner, accounting for about 40% of the country’s exports.


Metallon Corporation said it is committed to restoring formalised mining at Redwing Mine and ending unsafe mining practices, including all small-scale mining. The company said this is part of its processes to leverage the potential of gold mining in Zimbabwe and to power a sustainable, clean-energy future.


A Call for Investigation and Accountability

The shaft collapse at Redwing Mine has raised serious concerns about the safety and wellbeing of the miners, the environment and the governance of mining operations in the area. Several civil society organisations and trade unions have demanded a thorough and impartial investigation into the incident.


They have also called for the accountability of the Mines and Mining Development ministry, which is responsible for inspecting and regulating the mining sector. They said the ministry should have observed and prevented the removal of pillars, which compromised the stability of the mine.


The organisations also expressed concern over the prevalence of hundreds of so-called sponsors operating underground shafts at Redwing Mine. These sponsors are alleged to be using their financial muscle and political connections to exploit the miners and the mineral resources.


They have demanded a clear roadmap on the future of Redwing Mine and its gold-rich surroundings, with a special focus on workers’ safety, wellbeing and livelihoods, environment and governance of mining operations in the area.


They have also urged the government to implement the Africa Mining Vision, which is a framework for the sustainable development of the mining sector in Africa.


The vision aims to ensure that mining contributes to the structural transformation of African economies and to the improvement of the living standards of the people.


Source: Newsday Zimbabwe

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