- June 7, 2021
- Posted in NEWS
Yesterday marked 49 years since the Kamandama Mine disaster at Hwange Colliery where 427 miners lost their lives.
The disaster remains the worst mine disaster in the country’s history and every June 6, commemorations are held to honour the 427 miners who perished in 1972 at the Colliery’s Kamandama Mine Disaster.
A Golf Tournament is held before the commemorations to raise funds towards the cause, but this year it was not held due to Covid-19.
According to the Hwange website, the Wankie coal mine disaster took place on 6 June 1972 when a series of underground explosions occurred at the Wankie No.2 colliery in Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe).
Historical records established that the accident was caused by an underground methane dust explosion and despite the several attempts by the then PROTO teams to rescue mine workers, the fatality of the disaster was such that the mine shaft had to be sealed off.
The disaster took place at the Wankie No.2 Colliery in Wankie, (now known as Hwange) in Matabeleland North, when several gas explosions ripped through the mine. It was initially believed that more than 470 miners were trapped, but the number was lowered after the owners found a number of people had shown up for work.
Eight men were pulled alive from the mine after the initial explosions. Two new explosions on 7 June poured clouds of poisonous gas into the 4.8KMs of tunnels, making further rescue attempts impossible.
On June, 9 1972 the then general manager of the Wankie colliery, Gordon Livingstone-Blevins, decided to leave the 424 bodies where they were. Three bodies had been recovered after the initial explosions.
A mass memorial service took place on 11 June at a nearby football stadium, where a crowd of about 5,000 people paid tribute.
Hwange has gone though tremendous transformation since then and in 2018 President Mnangagwa signed several investment agreements with China.
Hwange Units 7 & 8 Thermal Power Station expansion which will add 600 MW to the national grid is one of the mega projects.